Welcome Back, Randy

Dave · May 22, 2009 at 9:04 am · Filed Under Mariners 

I don’t have time for a long, waxing, poetic post on the greatness of Randy Johnson. I wish I did, though, because he was the guy that made the Mariners of the 1990s both interesting and great. I was at his 19 strikeout game when McGwire hit the ball 600 feet at the Kingdome. I was at a lot of Randy Johnson starts, because every time he took the hill, it was an event.

I loved watching Randy Johnson pitch, and I hated watching him leave. I hope he gets a standing ovation tonight, and he pitches like its 1995 again.

Welcome back to Seattle, Randy. You’ll always be my favorite.


89 Responses to “Welcome Back, Randy”

  1. BLYKMYK44 on May 22nd, 2009 1:00 pm

    So…is there any way to tell how much Randy benefited getting to play in the National League? I’m sure he would’ve been a great pitcher, but it would’ve been hard to match those 4 straight Cy Young Awards.

  2. wabbles on May 22nd, 2009 1:08 pm

    The Yankees public address announcer liked to play “Welcome To The Jungle” when the team took the field, a reference to the concrete jungle.
    So it was SOOOOOOOO cool when OUR public address announcer cued up that song as Randy went striding out to the mound in ALDS Game 5. Talk about in your face.

  3. chimera on May 22nd, 2009 1:12 pm

    [this isn’t turning into a steroids conversation]

  4. scott19 on May 22nd, 2009 1:19 pm

    [response to removed comment, repost the second part if you want]

  5. chimera on May 22nd, 2009 1:22 pm

    Also, if you beleive Wikipedia:


    Randall David Johnson (born September 10, 1963, in Walnut Creek, California), nicknamed “The Big Unit”, is a left-handed Major League Baseball power pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. He pitched one of the 17 perfect games in Major League Baseball history.

    The 6-foot-10 Johnson has been celebrated for having one of the most dominant fastballs in the game. He regularly approached, and occasionally exceeded, 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) during his prime. However, his signature pitch is a hard, biting slider. Johnson has won the Cy Young Award five times, second only to Roger Clemens’ seven.

    For all active pitchers through the 2008 season, Johnson is first in strikeouts per nine innings pitched (10.67 – which is also first for all starting pitchers in history) and hit batsmen (188 – third all-time), first in strikeouts (4,789 – second all-time), fourth in hits allowed per nine innings pitched (7.24 – 10th all-time), first in shutouts (37 – 57th all-time), third in wins (298 – 25th all-time), eighth in ERA (3.27), third in wild pitches (104), and seventh in won-lost percentage (.648). His 4,810 strikeouts are also first all-time among left-handed pitchers.

  6. PositivePaul on May 22nd, 2009 1:23 pm

    Huh. I wonder if the Society for Fan-Friendly Political-Correctness that maintains crowd control at Safeco would kick someone out for bringing a sign that played on the one used in the dome in 1995:

    “Not Even These Mariners Can Beat Our Johnson!”

  7. chimera on May 22nd, 2009 1:25 pm


  8. scott19 on May 22nd, 2009 1:34 pm

    IMHO, I think Randy, at the top of his game, would’ve been equally as tough to beat in the AL during that stretch — and personally, I’d have much rather see the two CYA’s that Clemens got go to Randy if he’d still been in the league.

    Though we can debate personality quirks ’til the cows come home, at least when RJ got the privilege of pitching in a World Series, he didn’t disgrace the game by throwing a bat splinter at an opposing player simply because he “didn’t like him”.

  9. chimera on May 22nd, 2009 1:36 pm


  10. Bremerton guy on May 22nd, 2009 1:37 pm

    I’ve been here for a few years and must have missed the insight about why Randy didn’t tank his partial last year here and why the KJR dudes are wrong. Anyone care to link me to the discussion? I’ve always wondered about it. Thanks.

  11. Jeff Nye on May 22nd, 2009 1:40 pm

    No more steroids talk (or insinuations) and no more metacommentary.

    This post is about Randy Johnson.

  12. Brian Rust on May 22nd, 2009 1:44 pm

    I missed the McGwire HR, but I did get to see the OTHER 19-K game. It was the White Sox, and we won.

    My recollection from the right-field seats (aka “The Boneyard”): 1: the loud, distance-delayed pop of fastball on catcher’s mitt, 2: even from that distance RJ’s left forearm looked larger than the right, 3: the reverberating Kingdome roar of voices and foot-stomping on every two-strike count after the 6th inning.

    Great times. After that, my wife and kids were hooked on seeing the M’s live, even with the 500-mile RT.

    He’ll get the crowd’s best tonight. Although the crowd will be skewed toward collectors rather than true fans.

  13. scott19 on May 22nd, 2009 1:56 pm

    I think the fact that Randy, back in ’01, came within about a start of shattering Nolan Ryan’s single-season strikeout record — during a age when most SP’s no longer go very deep into games and having thrown almost 80 fewer innings than Ryan did when he set that record back in the 70’s — is an accomplishment that speaks volumes for this guy’s talent.

  14. pgreyy on May 22nd, 2009 1:57 pm

    It’s amazing how many of us were at the “McGwire home run/Randy strikes out 19” game at the Kingdome. I was, too…in the 300 level…and I’ve never seen such an awesome display of vulgar power.

    There’s an article about Randy in the current issue of SI. Good article, with an interesting story Valle tells about letting an umpire call a game…but my Seattle-oversensitivity noted that there was no picture of him in his Mariners uniform.

    I’d like to think that Randy knows how much he meant to this city, to this team…to us.

    …doesn’t mean I want the Giants to win tonight, though.

  15. chimera on May 22nd, 2009 2:05 pm

    Fair enough, Jeff Nye. I still don’t think my posts should have been deleted, but it is what it is.

    To keep this on topic, looking forward to the game tonight.

  16. IdahoInvader on May 22nd, 2009 2:14 pm

    Its amazing the M’s didn’t win the game against the A’s when he K’s 19. What more can a pitcher do?!

    Also, I made the fatal mistake of saying yes when a girl asked me to see the movie, Greencard back in 1990. It was one of the few games I missed on the radio that year and the exact same night Randy threw the M’s first no hitter. I curse the name of Gérard Depardieu to this day.

  17. joealb1 on May 22nd, 2009 2:30 pm

    Bremerton guy, search this quote, “Refuting the Randy Johnson quit on us canard”, DMZ wrote an exelent post on this subject. Look at the 3rd article that comes up.

  18. scott19 on May 22nd, 2009 2:30 pm

    RJ with 19 K’s…and McGwire with the longest HR ever hit in the Kingdome…

    I was down in Oregon at the time, and listened to it on the radio that night. I still remember Niehaus’ calls from that game…despite the loss, pretty amazing.

  19. DaveValleDrinkNight on May 22nd, 2009 2:35 pm

    My favorite RJ moment happened either his first or second year here. Bear with me this was 15 or 16 years ago at the Kingdome.

    RJ throws a 97 mph to one of the A’s, I’m pretty sure it was Mike Gaellgo but can’t swear to it in court.

    The batter hits a rocket of a line drive right at Randy who grabs it out of the air with his pitching hand.

    He then steps off the mound and starts walking towards the batter like he’s going to kill him, then calmly tosses to first.

    The most intimidating play I’ve ever seen a pitcher make.

    My Dad and I were at the game and to this day we still double check with each other that we actually saw that happen.

  20. kinbote on May 22nd, 2009 2:46 pm

    RJ’s free agent contract he signed in 1999 (4y/$53mil) has to be considered among the very best ever handed out by a team. He won the Cy Young all four years and nabbed a championship along the way. It’s hard for me to rank them, but he, Maddux, and Pedro are the best of my generation.

  21. cdowley on May 22nd, 2009 2:57 pm

    I wish I wish I wish I could go tonight… the tiebreaker game is still one of my best memories as a Mariners fan… sprinting home from the bus stop after school, Sojo’s double, Langston sitting on the ground in dismay, Randy pointing at the sky/dome and catching an exuberant Wilson, and “Nineteen long years of frustration, are HISTORY!”

  22. Nate on May 22nd, 2009 3:00 pm

    don’t make it over here to safeco field but maybe once or twice a year from Spokane. I’m in town today, and I’ll be just beyond first base tonight. got the tickets three weeks ago before we knew it would be Randy. can’t tell you how STOKED I am about being at this game!
    I for one will cheer and applaud and even stand for Randy’s recognition, then I will proceed to hope we hit the ball very very hard all night long and clobber the giants.

    MMMmmmm, chowder and baseball!

  23. CecilFielderRules on May 22nd, 2009 3:08 pm

    Sweet justice would be the Mariners staying competitive this year and trading for Randy as the Giants fall out of contention. Randy then pulls a 1998 again (his current W-L & ERA hide how well he’s pitching this year because of a ridiculous HR/FB ratio), and he dominates down the stretch as the M’s are in the pennant race.

    I suppose that’s where I wake up. It’s not going to happen. Still, it will be great to see him on the mound tonight, pitching in Seattle one more time.

  24. Breadbaker on May 22nd, 2009 3:09 pm

    So many of Randy’s great games I remember from the radio for some reason: the no-hitter, the McGwire home run, even the extra innings game against the Yankees. So it’s Dave’s voice and Randy’s performance together in my memory.

    The one way cool moment I remember was an afternoon game in 1996, when he had been out for a long time and started warming up in the bullpen. Totally blah game with a small crowd, but suddenly as you saw that extra-tall frame warming up down the left field line, the feeling became electric. No one was watching what was happening on the field, we were all mesmerized by Randy about to come in from the pen.

    You all know the concept of “maximum possible error.” Saying Randy was going to lose it to health issues in 1998 would be pretty much that, woudln’t it? He’s high on the list of pitching accomplishments in almost every category after his 30th birthday.

    And my son’s Randy Johnson growth chart remains on the wall of his bedroom, though he missed by about nine inches.

  25. JMHawkins on May 22nd, 2009 3:14 pm

    It’s still amazing to me that three, maybe four, Hall of Fame players were on the same team and it didn’t get them to the WS.

    It’s not quite as amazing as you think. Derek wrote an extensive post about that.

    An excellent post by Derek, thanks for pointing it out. It fits pretty well with my own feelings. I should clarify what I meant by “amazing” that they didn’t win. Not amazing that four great players aren’t enough to win a championship by themselves, but rather that a team with four great players couldn’t (or wouldn’t) surround them with a supporting cast good enough to get there.

    Don’t squander opportunities, you never know how long they’ll last or when they might come again.

  26. TomTuttle on May 22nd, 2009 3:19 pm

    If only we could go back in time and experience ’95 again. . .

  27. IdahoInvader on May 22nd, 2009 3:29 pm

    Another early 90’s old school moment was when effin’ Mike Gallego broke up a Randy no hitter either in the 8th or to start the 9th against Oakland. At least that game we won. Even living 500+ miles away in Ontario, OR, my dad and I would try to go to one series a year. So that was a great game to see in person. (We even once saw Russ Swan take a no no into the 7th vs the Royals fwiw)

  28. wabbles on May 22nd, 2009 3:45 pm

    If only we could go back in time and experience ‘95 again. . .

    The next best thing is watching the “My Oh My” highlight videotape. It’s awesome, despite the “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” soundtrack.

  29. cdowley on May 22nd, 2009 3:48 pm

    Thinking back on it, I remember being at the 19k/McGwire HR game, though not a ton of it. That crowd had been getting louder and louder and louder throughout the game, then the sound of the ball hitting his bat utterly silenced everyone in the stadium by the time the ball bounced off the back wall of the stadium.

    Until Randy struck out the next batter and the noise resumed 😉

    I still vividly remember watching the bounce in shock… I was somewhere behind third base and you could hear the “thunk” all the way over there.

  30. josh_h on May 22nd, 2009 3:58 pm

    Best Randy memory:

    I was at the M’s-Angels AL west tie-breaker in 95. Every time he had two strikes on a hitter, the kingdome was so loud… absolutely incredible.

    Then after the win, I went onto the field with my dad, we took some dirt from the mound, from right behind the rubber. Definitely my favorite Mariner moment, and my favorite sports souvenir.

  31. LB on May 22nd, 2009 3:59 pm

    > If only we could go back in time and experience ‘95 again. . .

    Couldn’t be easier. Just tune in Rick Rizzs when the M’s play NY.

  32. BobbyAyalaFan4Life on May 22nd, 2009 4:19 pm

    My favorite Randy moment (aside from hitting the freakin’ bird) was June 25, 1994.
    It was Randy starting against ‘Black’ Jack McDowell and the ChiSox the year after Jack beat Randy for the Cy Young. The M’s lost 2-1, but both pitchers were great…my first true pitcher’s duel I got to attend as a fan (I was 13). Randy even signed a card I still have before that game.
    There wasn’t anything super special about the game… Just classic Randy!
    Black Jack pitched 9, gave up 1 on 3 hits, 2BB, 6 Ks. Randy also went 9, giving up 2 on 5 hits, 4 BB, 12 Ks.
    Good times!

  33. joser on May 22nd, 2009 4:34 pm

    Couldn’t be easier. Just tune in Rick Rizzs when the M’s play NY.

    Warning: you may also experience several decades’ worth of the White Sox and the “south side of Chicago” along the way…

  34. scott19 on May 22nd, 2009 4:39 pm

    Warning: you may also experience several decades’ worth of the White Sox and the “south side of Chicago” along the way…

    …As well as the obligatory mention of how the M’s won 116 games back in ’01 also.

  35. IdahoInvader on May 22nd, 2009 5:22 pm


    Was that the game Mark Newfield (I that was his name) hit a hr for the only run?

  36. The Dreeze on May 22nd, 2009 5:34 pm

    Doug Strange is staring at me through my kitchen window. He’s wearing softball shorts.

  37. dingla on May 23rd, 2009 1:02 am

    …McGwire hit the ball 600 feet at the Kingdome.

    Didnt it hit the just below the ceiling on the 300 level? If i remember correctly FSN had a special on that game and his homerun. I believe it was said that if his home run had been hit in Safeco Field, the ball would have been blasted out the stadium (assuming it cleared the flag poles and roof retracting braces) and either land on S Royal Broughham way or bounce off of the exhibition center. 🙂

  38. dingla on May 23rd, 2009 1:06 am

    “The Kid”
    “The Big Unit”

    Those were the choices on FSNs text in for best mariner nickname. In my opinion definitely the toughest poll they’ve given yet. Im torn between all three.

  39. BigJared on May 23rd, 2009 1:58 am

    Randy had so many great moments here, it’s hard to pick so I’ll go with more general things.

    I remember the aura of white hot intensity he always had (and still does). The idea that he ever ‘tanked’ is laughable. This is not a man who is happy with even a single runner reaching base.

    The picture of a 6′ 10″ craggy looking guy with an awesome mullet (he should bring that back, it works for him) mixing 100 mph aspirin tablets with a video game slider is one of my favorite images of baseball. Nolan Ryan and Pedro are the only other pitchers I’ve seen that made good major league hitters look so visibly uncomfortable at the plate for a sustained period.

    As a baseball fan I appreciate the honor of watching one of the BEST EVER in his prime. Griffey and A-Rod wanted to leave, RJ didn’t, at least initially. He should have been an M for life like Edgar. This thought always makes me sad.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.