Congratulations Randy Johnson on 300!

Some trivia on Randy Johnson hitting 300:

  • 6th left hander to get 300 wins
  • 24th member of the 300 win club
  • First to have beaten every major league team over the course of his career
  • Second oldest at the time he won 300 games (first was Phil Niekro)
  • Joins Tim Keefe, Mickey Welch, and Christy Mathewson as pitchers who got their 300th as Giants
  • First to get 300 as a San Francisco Giant
  • Fifth best winning percentage in the 300 club (.647)

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This post was written by Hank on June 4, 2009

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More Randy Johnson Retrospective

As we wait out the rain delay, two more articles on Randy Johnson, from

Jerry Crasnick’s Starting 9 column features nine memorable moments from Johnson’s career:

  1. His perfect game in 2004.
  2. The pitch over John Kruk’s head in the ‘93 All-Star Game.
  3. The playoff game in 1995 for the Mariners, after they had stormed back from a 13 game defecit.
  4. After throwing 7 innings in Game 6 of the 2001 World Series, he came back the next day to get the last four outs in Game 7.
  5. The “exploding bird” incident. Interestingly enough, it was against the Giants in a spring training game. The immortal Calvin Murray was the hitter.
  6. Striking out 20 Cincinnatti Reds in a 2001 game.
  7. His one career home run in 2003.
  8. The camera shoving incident when he first joined the Yankees.
  9. The really long home run McGwire hit off him in 1997. In that game, he struck out 19.

Some really funny quotes, and even a Duane Kuiper reference thrown in for good measure.

The second article, which was the main feature on ESPN’s baseball section, interviews various hitters who have faced Johnson throughout the years, and lists which hitters have fared the best and worst against him.

The best five hitters (BA, min 20 PAs):

  1. Rene Gonzalez (.500 ?!?!)
  2. Bob Melvin/Randy Velarde (.452)
  3. Jose Reyes (.450)
  4. Reed Johnson (.429)
  5. Albert Pujols (.429)

The Five Worst Hitters (BA, min 20 PA)

  1. Craig Grebeck (0 for 21)
  2. Steve Sax (1 for 26)
  3. Rafael Palmeiro (1 for 21)
  4. Eric Davis (1 for 18)
  5. Candy Maldonado (1 for 17)

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This post was written by Hank on June 3, 2009

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Triple Big Unit

Three articles today to share on Randy Johnson:

Randy Johnson in high school: 90 mph and attitude recollects his exploits back in the early 80s at Livermore High School. Features recollections from local players who faced him, and some photos including a black-and-white photo of him complete with the same mullet he has now.

Is Johnson the last Big Winner? by John Shea of the Chronicle speculates whether Johnson will be the last 300 game winner. The article lists some of the winningest pitchers today and mentions that Roy Halliday, who at age 32 has 139 wins, would need to average 16 a year to get to 300 by age 42. Johnson, on the other hand, due to the early struggles in his career, only had 104 wins at age 32, and actually had two recent reasons where he only won 4 and 6 games due to injury, as well as five-win and nine-win seasons in his prime years.

Not to be excluded, the Merc also weighed in on Randy Johnson as he goes for his 300th win in Washington. Andrew Baggarly’s blog article approaches the topic from the angle of, what kind of makeup does it take to be a 300 game winner? Being healthy, playing for winning teams, pitching and winning in your 40s, those all make sense. Slightly more interesting is being in the American League, the idea  being that the DH keeps pitchers in games longer and thus gives them more chances to win.

Just for fun, Barry Zito has 124 wins and age 31 as of this writing. He would need to average 18 wins a year (actually, 17.6) over the next 10 years to reach 300. If he pitches as long as Johnson (until 45), he could do it averaging 13 wins a year (12.55). It’s too early to do a projection on the other Giants starters, so we’ll check back on them in say, 5 more years.

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This post was written by Hank on June 1, 2009

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As I guessed…

The Pablo-as-backup-catcher experiement didn’t last long. After Tuesday night’s game, Alex Hinshaw’s been sent down and Steve Holm was called up.  I think having the backup catcher provides much more flexibility than having 12 pitchers- there were several situations over this homestand where Bengie Molina got on base late in the game but they couldn’t pinch run for him. Well, now they can. If the starting pitching can remain consistent, I think they can get by with 11 pitchers.

While on the subject of pitching, the Giants also adjusted the pitching rotation to a slightly modified five-man format. With the two off days this week, Jonathan Sanchez will be skipped and be available for long relief.

So this weekend against Arizona, instead of Sanchez/Lincecum/Johnson, it will be Lincecum/Johnson/Cain.  Sanchez presumably will rejoin the rotation with the second Dodgers game on 4/28. I think this is a good move for a few reasons:

  • Sanchez has pitched relief before so it shouldn’t be a big deal
  • Lincecum can now pitch the last game against the Dodgers on 4/29
  • The pitch counts for the starters have been relatively low thus far
  • Any chance you get to give your top starters an extra start while still giving them normal rest, you gotta do it.

So, good move, Bruce Bochy- hope it works out.

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This post was written by Hank on April 22, 2009

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The Big Unit

So the GIants have signed Randy Johnson to a one-year contract, for $8 million, with incentives that can bring it up to $13 million. Now he can actually wear a Giants cap not in error (a reference to the Giants-Snakes brawl where he put on a Giants cap by accident)

In comparison, Jamie Moyer, who is the only major leaguer older than Johnson, just signed an extension for $13 million over 2 years with incentives that can bump it up to $20 million.

Johnson gives the Giants not just three lefties in their rotation, but also three Cy Young winners (Lincecum 2008, Zito 2002 AL, Johnson 1995 AL, 1999-2002 NL).  Assuming that Jonathan Sanchez or Noah Lowry is the fifth starter, that would give a rotation of: Lincecum, Cain, Zito, Johnson, and Sanchez/Lowry. Johnson could also go 2nd in the rotation if Bochy wanted to alternate between righty/lefty.

I remember a very young Randy Johnson, who had the great arm but was erratic and wild until a chance meeting and some advice from Nolan Ryan straightened him out and made him a consistent, dominating pitcher. Here is hoping that Johnson has at least one more productive year, gets his 300th win, and can help tutor Jonathan Sanchez towards achieving his full potential. The Giants marketing team should be happy too as he’ll help move some tickets and merchandise.

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This post was written by Hank on December 27, 2008