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.

Comments

89 Responses to “Welcome Back, Randy”

  1. zjmuglidny on May 22nd, 2009 9:09 am

    Perhaps my favorite Ms moment of all-time.

    “Randy looks to the skies, that is covered by the dome, and bedlam! “

  2. SeasonTix on May 22nd, 2009 9:12 am

    Yeah, it’s a shame the M’s couldn’t get Randy to stay — but he didn’t want to be here so there was nothing they could do about it. Money was not the issue.

    I’ll be there tonight with my Felix bobblehead nodding in appreciation of Randy’s contribution to the “glory days.”

  3. Gustafson on May 22nd, 2009 9:13 am

    Not a season goes by that I don’t think of – and miss – RJ about a thousand times.

    I can’t wait to see him pitch tonight.

  4. CCW on May 22nd, 2009 9:13 am

    Here here. There are two Mariner images that will be forever emblazoned in my memory: (1) Randy Johnson on top of the mound with his arms in the air (2) Griffey’s sweet HR swing. I’m excited about this game tonight.

  5. ewdewald on May 22nd, 2009 9:13 am

    I remember being 10-14 years old or so and marking W’s on my M’s pocketschedule weeks in advance of every fifth day. That wasn’t for Jeff Fassero or Chris Bosio.
    I’ll definitely be there tonight.

  6. Gustafson on May 22nd, 2009 9:15 am

    SeasonTix,

    Randy would have wanted to be here if Woody Woodward hadn’t yanked him around on exercising his option and if the M’s had actually tried to get a deal done with him.

    Randy was not at fault in the breakup, IMHO. The M’s were worried about his back and failed to make a serious offer for him. Which hurt Randy’s feelings (he’s sensitive). Woody W effed that up royally…

  7. kinbote on May 22nd, 2009 9:15 am

    What happens when two inert offenses face each other? At least the M’s will get to trot out their RH-heavy lineup against a lefty.

  8. ewdewald on May 22nd, 2009 9:17 am

    How bitter-sweet to see him age like fine wine. Talent-wise, I mean. Looks…

  9. thewyrm on May 22nd, 2009 9:19 am

    I think residual goodwill from signing Jr. will add a lot of cheers for him. I fully expect the crowd to cheer him and be pretty pleasant. Maybe a random boo here or there.

  10. ewdewald on May 22nd, 2009 9:23 am

    Who has reason to boo. Did he snub someones kid an autograph? Hate Metalica and hate Johnson by proxy?

  11. jvalentine on May 22nd, 2009 9:30 am

    Dave, I was there too. I was still young but i remember that ball absolutly being smashed into the upper deck in left field. I don’t think and homers reached that area moer than a handful of times.

    Welcome back Randy. Wish I could make it. That being said. Go Mariners.

  12. Tek Jansen on May 22nd, 2009 9:32 am

    Who has reason to boo.

    People who care not to examine or learn about how to effectively scout and analyze pitching still believe that Unit “tanked” in 1998, when all evidence says he did not. KJR hosts and personalities are prominent in that group.

  13. coasty141 on May 22nd, 2009 9:32 am

    My favorite Randy moment was when he returned to Safeco with the Yankees to face Felix in his 6th major league start back in 1995. I drove a long ways to get to that game (Bozeman) and it was worth it a hundred times over.

  14. JMHawkins on May 22nd, 2009 9:33 am

    Here here. There are two Mariner images that will be forever emblazoned in my memory: (1) Randy Johnson on top of the mound with his arms in the air (2) Griffey’s sweet HR swing. I’m excited about this game tonight.

    Y’know, if they were going to do this Griffey-returns-home thing right, they should’ve got Randy Johnson on the team too and hired Edgar as the hitting coach.

    Probably no way to get A-Rod back, but that Gieco stack of dollar bills with eyes would work. I think he’s the one prodigal son who would never be welcomed back.

    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.

  15. JI on May 22nd, 2009 9:34 am

    Here, here!

  16. JMHawkins on May 22nd, 2009 9:39 am

    My favorite Randy moment was when he returned to Safeco with the Yankees to face Felix in his 6th major league start back in 1995.

    Perhaps you meant 2005. Or else you mean Felix in his 6th little league start back in 1995, though why the Yankees would be playing a Venezuelian little league team in an unbuilt statium in Seattle, starting a pitcher who didn’t actually play for them, I couldn’t say. Baseball’s a strange game sometimes.

  17. henryv on May 22nd, 2009 9:50 am


    My favorite Randy moment was when he returned to Safeco with the Yankees to face Felix in his 6th major league start back in 1995.

    Perhaps you meant 2005. Or else you mean Felix in his 6th little league start back in 1995, though why the Yankees would be playing a Venezuelian little league team in an unbuilt statium in Seattle, starting a pitcher who didn’t actually play for them, I couldn’t say. Baseball’s a strange game sometimes.

    The Yankees are so willing to spend money (and the MLB is so willing to allow them to do whatever they want) that they built a time machine, and transported Randy and the rest of the 2005 team back to 1995. They also built Safeco, and flew up Felix’s little league team, dressing them in Mariners uniforms, and proceeded to destroy them. However, in the game, Jeter did make 2 errors.

    This was all, of course, to get revenge for the 1995 ALDS game 5.

  18. SeasonTix on May 22nd, 2009 9:52 am

    Gustafson,

    I agree that the M’s FO is the reason Randy wanted to leave, my point is that because of the “bad blood” between them there was nothing they could do to get Randy to stay at the end because the bridges had already been burned.

    Also, Randy wanted to play close to his home in Arizona, so not much they could do about that either.

    In any event, it’s sad that he didn’t stay here for his entire career.

  19. Gump on May 22nd, 2009 9:58 am

    I watch the my oh my tape that came out after that 95 season every spring waiting for baseball to start. One of my favorite parts is the ESPN commentator talking bout Randy. Fast, fast and increadibally fast…. Man you could expect a 3 hitter almost everytime that monster went out!

  20. mkd on May 22nd, 2009 9:59 am

    Probably the one and only game my budget and location will allow me to attend this year and it just so happens to be a Randy Johnson start. The baseball gods are often cruel, but sometimes, sometimes, they let you have a little something sweet. God I wish he had beaten the Mets last week.

  21. Gump on May 22nd, 2009 9:59 am

    At least Johnson says he wants to wear a mariners cap when he goes to the hall of fame….

  22. Paul on May 22nd, 2009 10:00 am

    Thanks to Randy, I could get my wife to go to games, because the games were quick and something crazy might happen. We loved watching him pitch.

    Who could have known that the unstable flame thrower who lost it in Cleveland, shaking his fist skyward at the military jets buzzing the stadium, would become such a pillar of sustained focus.

  23. murphy_dog on May 22nd, 2009 10:06 am

    Sadly, the only time I ever saw him pitch live was in Oakland in 1998, when he was “tanking it” and he sucked that day too.

    I probably went to four other Oakland games to see RJ on the hill, and every time he was pushed back, it rained, something, so I missed him.

    Wonder if Wak will start Griffey tonight?

  24. CCW on May 22nd, 2009 10:13 am

    Griffey shouldn’t be in the lineup tonight… but I hope he is. And footage of ’95 should be rolling on the big screen all evening. (anyone thinking of trying to kill my buzz, please don’t).

  25. Hoppy on May 22nd, 2009 10:14 am

    I was sitting front row on the visiting dugout when McGwire hit that ball. I swear to god when that ball started to take off it opened up a worm hole in space just above Blowers head, and time went backwards like 7 seconds. It was like watching someone drive a golf ball 900 yards.

  26. Nuss on May 22nd, 2009 10:16 am

    My favorite memory is watching him at the Kingdome in game 3 of the ALDS in 1995. I drove all afternoon from Pullman to get there in time, and it so did not disappoint.

    I have never been in a louder sports environment than that one, and I went to plenty of Seahawks games in that place. The place would rock on every two-strike count and then just absolutely explode with each successive punch out. Striking out Don Mattingly, who had been impossible to get out, three times? Yeah, that’s good stuff.

    It seemed to me the Yankees were shell shocked — I think they really thought they were going to walk over the M’s after that Leyritz homer. One of the favorite sports memories of my life. I like to think Game 5 actually started that night.

  27. ewdewald on May 22nd, 2009 10:39 am

    flame thrower who lost it in Cleveland, shaking his fist skyward at the military jets buzzing the stadium

    Somebody fill me in? What’s the story?

  28. BLYKMYK44 on May 22nd, 2009 10:39 am

    My favorite memory was Game 5 of the ALDS. When he started warming up the crowd went wild and then when Lou came out to bring him in it was pretty crazy.

    That game was probably the only time it was kind of cool for the bullpen to be out on the field in open sight.

  29. PositivePaul on May 22nd, 2009 10:43 am

    So where were you sitting in the Dome that day? I was actually about 40 feet from where that ball landed. I seriously thought it was going to hit the scoreboard.

    I learned that strikeouts, while nice, aren’t the be-all end-all for a pitcher — a guy can have 19 strikeouts and still surrender 4+ runs. I did, however, also discover that a pitcher’s win-loss record means jack squat as to whether or not that pitcher is “awesome” or “terrible” or whatever.

    I got to meet RJ shortly after the trade at an autograph signing at a baseball card show. Nobody knew hew he was back then. The line was super short and I went through several times. Finally, the last time through, I sat and chatted with him for 15+ minutes. Shook his pitching hand (fellow lefty) and told him to go out and have a great career for us, that I thought he was gonna go kick ass and take names. “Thanks kid!” was about what I expected.

    He added the “Will do!” part, in both words and action.

    He’s pretty much my favorite all-time favorite player ever. Definitely the best pitcher I ever saw pitch in person.

    I’m just hoping he passes the torch on and has a similar conversation with Felix now that he’s in town that he himself had with Nolan Ryan when Texas was in town…

  30. ewdewald on May 22nd, 2009 10:48 am

    That game was probably the only time it was kind of cool for the bullpen to be out on the field in open sight.

    I thought the ’95 bullpen was pretty good. Ayala, Nelson, and Charlton.

    They did have to sit right on the field in open sight. Ahh, the Kingdome.

  31. Carson on May 22nd, 2009 11:08 am

    At least Johnson says he wants to wear a mariners cap when he goes to the hall of fame…

    It’ll be interesting when that time comes. If the hall forces their hand with the rule that the player doesn’t get to pick, I presume he’ll go in as a D-Back.

    Winning a world series, a truckload of Cy Young awards, and tossing a perfect game there pretty much cements that.

  32. joser on May 22nd, 2009 11:09 am

    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.

    People who care not to examine or learn about how to effectively scout and analyze pitching still believe that Unit “tanked” in 1998, when all evidence says he did not. KJR hosts and personalities are prominent in that group.

    They show up here occasionally, too.

    I hope he gets a standing ovation tonight, and he pitches like its 1995 again.

    And then I hope he hands it over to the Giants bullpen, who promptly choke away the game to the M’s. Man, Jason Vargas just gets no easy starts, does he?

  33. joser on May 22nd, 2009 11:11 am

    It’s good that RJ is getting some appreciation now. As Derek noted a few years ago, that hasn’t always been the case.

  34. Russ on May 22nd, 2009 11:14 am

    People who care not to examine or learn about how to effectively scout and analyze pitching still believe that Unit “tanked” in 1998, when all evidence says he did not. KJR hosts and personalities are prominent in that group.

    I was listening to our local sports talk show yesterday afternoon when the host proclaimed that RJ’s numbers didn’t lie, RJ tanked it purposely his last days with Seattle. They also think Geoff Baker is the end all when it comes to baseball stats. I wanted to call in to dispute but frankly didn’t have the energy to argue with that mentality. Even if we showed the real story, they’d choose not to believe.

    Go Randy. I love to watch him pitch. I still want my M’s to win but I can enjoy a Mr. Snappy here and there.

  35. chimera on May 22nd, 2009 11:17 am

    I was sitting front row next to first base when McGwire nailed that fastball … which practically hit the JumboTron on the back wall of the Kingdome.

    Memories fade, change and are lost over the years, but it seemed to me as if that ball was still rising. That’s the same night of course, as mentioned above, The Big Unit struck out 19.

    I didn’t realize RJ mentioned he would go into the HoF as a Mariner. If so awesome.

    Back in his day, I loved watching throw that hard slider to right hand hitters, they swing and miss, and the ball hits them in the foot. Hah!

    I’m recording this game tonight. I hope he does great but we win. ;)

  36. Jay R. on May 22nd, 2009 11:26 am

    I was at his 19 strikeout game when McGwire hit the ball 600 feet at the Kingdome.

    I was there too. Sitting along the left field line in the upper deck. The ball was still going UP when it went past us. I have never seen a ball hit that far before or since. Just a mammoth shot.

    After watching 3 HOF players leave Seattle in consecutive years, I no longer blame RJ for his exit- there was obviously a flaw in the FO. I still wonder about the amazing turnaround he made once he landed in Houston though. A trade that worked well for both teams.

    Would like to see Randy strike out 21+ tonight to erase Clemens from the books.

  37. Thingray on May 22nd, 2009 11:31 am

    All I can say is Amen. Welcome back RJ!! You’ll always be one of my heroes!

  38. Gomez on May 22nd, 2009 11:40 am

    I remember the last Randy Johnson start I saw in Seattle. It was at Safeco when he was with the Yankees. He didn’t get quite the fanfare from Mariner fans he’s going to get this weekend, probably because of the negative Yankee stigma. But he gave every bit the performance Mariner fans have gotten used to from him over his fine career: 7 strong innings and 7 K’s in a duel with Felix shortly after Felix’s callup from Tacoma.

    This is more of a twilight outing, so he’s going to get a much greater sendoff this time.

  39. Marinerfan4life on May 22nd, 2009 11:41 am

    I hope that Wak sends out Griffey to face RJ tonight!

  40. Tek Jansen on May 22nd, 2009 11:42 am

    I didn’t realize RJ mentioned he would go into the HoF as a Mariner. If so awesome.

    I know that the HoF now has say over which hat a player wears upon induction, but they often consult with the player to make certain that a player doesn’t go in with a team in which he made a pit stop. Unit had greater success with Arizona, but he still had great success with Seattle, and spent a little more time in terms of years with the team in Seattle. I imagine the HoF would be OK with Unit choosing either the M’s or D-Backs. The Expos, Astros, and Giants are probably out of the question.

  41. lailaihei on May 22nd, 2009 11:43 am

    My favorite Randy moment was when he returned to Safeco with the Yankees to face Felix in his 6th major league start back in 1995.

    One of the best games I’ve ever been to, easily the best that the Mariners didn’t win in.

  42. jwgrandsalami on May 22nd, 2009 12:11 pm

    While Woody Woodward made plenty of bad trades, he had little or nothing to do with how Randy’s contract situation was handled.

    That was all Chuck Armstrong, who was in a feud with Randy since 1992 and couldn’t wait to get rid of him. While Randy’s not the easiest guy to deal with, a team executive like Armstrong should not be having an ego like that when it comes to a Hall of Fame player. Chuck Armstrong isn’t exactly a Hall of Fame caliber team executive, but 11 years later he still has his job – that’s shameful.

    Randy went 20-4 with a 2.28 ERA in ’97, didn’t miss any starts that season due to a bad back (or any other injury). The quote about being concerned about Johnson’s back was just an excuse — you think Armstrong was going to say “I hate that asshole, I couldn’t wait to get him out of here”.

    Armstrong was so delighted to be telling Johnson to F off that on the day Griffey was announced as winner of the ’97 MVP Award (first Mariner to do so) Armstrong was releasing a statement saying that the team was not going to offer The Big Unit a contract.

    Out of the big three, Johnson was the one that wanted to stay. Looking at it more than ten years later he’s the one that clearly would have provided the most value. Griffey’s been hurt and has had one 100 RBI season since leaving Seattle. A-Rod has been great but he’s probably made twice as much money as Johnson over the last 10 years. And even if the $$ were the same what Mariner fan would prefer they kept the arrogant A-Rod over Randy?

    It’s interesting that of the three players, Griffey is the only one they really tried to keep. They offered him an eight-year deal (For more money than the Reds signed him for) at age 30. They didn’t offer RJ a contract and they offered A-Rod three years or five years at age 25.

    Randy would have wanted to be here if Woody Woodward hadn’t yanked him around on exercising his option and if the M’s had actually tried to get a deal done with him.

    Randy was not at fault in the breakup, IMHO. The M’s were worried about his back and failed to make a serious offer for him. Which hurt Randy’s feelings (he’s sensitive). Woody W effed that up royally…

  43. coffeemonkey on May 22nd, 2009 12:12 pm

    I thought the ‘95 bullpen was pretty good. Ayala, Nelson, and Charlton.

    They did have to sit right on the field in open sight. Ahh, the Kingdome.

    Me thinks your memory isn’t good. Do you not remember Randy having coming into game five of the ALDS? As I recall, Nelson and Charlton were the only reliable relievers, Ayala wasn’t so good.

  44. jwgrandsalami on May 22nd, 2009 12:13 pm

    In the post above the last two paragraphs were what I was responding to (starting with Randy would have wanted to…)

  45. coffeemonkey on May 22nd, 2009 12:16 pm

    I remember the game that Randy struck out 19 and McGwire hit that moonshot. A strange noise came over the crowd just as McGwire hit that ball. It came off his bat so fast and was over left center field what seemed like immediately. Best homer I’ve ever witnessed.

  46. don52656 on May 22nd, 2009 12:28 pm

    Dave, I’m with you all the way regarding Randy. In my opinion, Randy is the primary reason that the Mariners are still in Seattle, in my opinion. He carried the team in 1995. Griffey gets a lot of credit for 1995, and he deserves credit, but he was hurt for three months after he broke his wrist. Randy was a year-long warrior for that team.

    I was lucky to see his no-hitter, and it’s one of my favorite Randy moments. The 1995 stretch run and playoffs are other favorites, especially the relief appearance in game 5. But some of my other favorite memories won’t be found in the record book.

    I remember his All-Star performance when he buzzed John Kruk on the first pitch. Kruk bailed out of the batter’s box on every pitch after that…they were all sliders. After strike 3, Kruk glanced over at Randy on his way to the dugout and Randy winked at him.

    I remember the Kenny Lofton incident, too, when Randy threw him a slider and it buzzed Lofton. Lofton jumped up to complain to the umpire that Randy was throwing at him, and Randy walked toward the plate yelling “it was a stinking slider.” I swear Lofton was about to run off the field or hide behind the ump when he saw Randy heading towards the plate. The next pitch was a 100-mile fastball that zipped about 3 feet over Lofton’s head. Lofton hit the dirt and looked at the ump for some support; the umpire never said a word. Randy was just showing Lofton what a real purpose pitch looked like.

    I loved watching him pitch, and I am glad I will be at Safeco tonight to participate in the standing ovation I am sure he will get.

  47. chimera on May 22nd, 2009 12:39 pm

    don52656: I concur. I remember all of that too. However, I’d have to say Safeco Field is the house that Griffey, Edgar and “The Big Unit” built — it’s kind of hard to separate them in that 95 season.

    Extras can be thrown in like Charlton and Nelson, etc… but it’s the big 3 that made the Seattle Mariners stick here and not end up in Tampa Bay. Each and every one of those 3 we should welcome with huge ovations every time they make a public appearance.

  48. scott19 on May 22nd, 2009 12:41 pm

    Randy would have wanted to be here if Woody Woodward hadn’t yanked him around on exercising his option and if the M’s had actually tried to get a deal done with him.

    Randy was not at fault in the breakup, IMHO. The M’s were worried about his back and failed to make a serious offer for him. Which hurt Randy’s feelings (he’s sensitive). Woody W effed that up royally…

    Thank you! I love how all the RJ-haters still seem to use this as an excuse to gloss over the ineptitude of Woody Woodward. Funny how Randy’s “chronic” back issues (which, granted, did rear themselves again years later) never hindered his great years (and numerous achievements) in Arizona.

    Not to get hung-up on the whole realm of “what-if” scenarios, but I can’t help but think that if Woody would have: (1) moved A-Rod (who, even in ’98, really had no desire to be here) to Houston in that deal; & (2) locked up RJ long-term instead, that the Yanks would not have been able to get past a post-season rotation of Randy, Freddy and Jamie two years in a row.

  49. joser on May 22nd, 2009 12:44 pm

    Would like to see Randy strike out 21+ tonight to erase Clemens from the books.

    I would like to see Randy strike out 21+ and erase Clemens from the books, but I would like to see him do it against some other team. However, given the M’s offensive showing lately, this might in fact be his best chance.

  50. scott19 on May 22nd, 2009 12:49 pm

    I’d love to see RJ erase Clemens from the record books, also…if he’s still able to stick around long enough in a game these days to do so.

    Seems the Giants may have some more games on the schedule yet against the Nats, though…hmmm.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

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

    [this isn't turning into a steroids conversation]

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

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

  55. 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.

  56. 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!”

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

    [metacommentary]

  58. 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”.

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

    [metacommentary]

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. 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!”

  72. 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!

  73. 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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.

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

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

  77. 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)

  78. 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.

  79. 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.

  80. 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.

  81. 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.

  82. 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!

  83. 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…

  84. 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.

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

    BobbyAyalafan

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

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

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

  87. 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. :)

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

    “The Kid”
    “The Big Unit”
    “Bone”

    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.

  89. 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.

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