A few weeks ago I started up a new feature that was designed to look at players who don’t get a massive amount of Hobby attention in comparison to certain other players. I’ve found that this can be for any number of reasons but usually it’s because, despite showing incredible skills on the Baseball diamond, they often play for a smaller market team!
Today I’ll be looking at one of my favourite players from when I first started following Baseball, Mr Randy Johnson!
OK, I know he’s retired, but in my early collecting days I could never understand why he didn’t have a bigger following in the Hobby. He threw hard and had a quirky nickname… What’s the problem?? Oh yeah! He played for the Mariners and then for the Diamondbacks (via the Astros)! That would go some way to explaining it!!
Johnson had a 22 year MLB career, playing for six different teams on route to racking up some of the most impressive pitching statistics in MLB history…
He finished his career first in strikeouts per nine innings pitched among starting pitchers (10.67), second all-time behind Nolan Ryan in total strikeouts (4875 – first among left-handed pitchers), third in hit batsmen (188), tenth in fewest hits allowed per nine innings pitched (7.24), 22nd in wins (303), and 57th in shutouts (37). He also pitched two no-hitters, the second of which was the 17th perfect game in Baseball history.
While amassing this impressive tally he also won five Cy Young awards (second only to the seven won by Roger Clemens), played in 10 All-Star games, defeated every team in the Majors at least once, and hit (and killed) a bird with his fastball during Spring Training in 2001.
During batting practice while playing with the Expos in 1988, the 6′ 10″ Johnson collided head first with teammate Tim Raines, which prompted Raines to exclaim “You’re a big unit!” – a nickname that stayed with him throughout the rest of his career!
You don’t need me to tell you that Randy Johnson will be a sure-fire, first ballot Hall of Fame inductee when he becomes eligible in 2015. Maybe then he’ll start to get the ‘proper’ widespread recognition in the Hobby that he desrves, not just as one of the best pitchers of his generation, but as one of the best pitchers of all time!
You can pick up all of his 1989 Rookie cards for ridiculously low prices on eBay, including his best RC from 1989 Upper Deck (see the image above). Along with the UD version he also has Rookies available in Fleer, Topps, Score and Donruss…
Go pick a few up as a great investment of this awesome pitcher and future HOF’er!!