The Big Unit

“I had a long conversation with Steve Carlton.  He told me on days that he pitched, he felt it was his responsibility to make everyone around him better, to lift his teammates. That’s what I try to do.”
Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson will be remembered as one of the greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball history. Johnson is “off the charts” in both peak value and longevity. He won five Cy Young Awards and finished hsi career with 303 victories. Randy Johnson is second on the all-time strikeout list with 4,875. His 10.67 ratio of strikeouts per nine innings is first all-time. Johnson threw two no-hitters, one of which was a perfect game. In addition to winning five Cy Young Awards Johnson finished second in the voting three times and he was a ten-time All Star.

Randy Johnson had a great fastball and a hard biting slider. Over the years, there have been more stories about pitchers who threw extremely hard but could not consistently find the strike zone than there have been about pitchers like Randy Johnson who achieved elite status after harnessing hos control.

Randy Johnson pitched for the Indianapolis Indians in 1988 and struggled during the early stages that season. He threw very hard and was quite intense but because his control wasn’t very good, it was difficult to predict was the future held for him.

Johnson made strides that season and earned a September call-up to Montreal. Toward the end of the 1992 season, Johnson had the opportunity to speak with Nolan Ryan, the all-time strikeout leader. Ryan made a suggestion to Johnson that turned out to be career-changing. Nolan studied Randy’s delivery and advised Randy to land on the ball not the heel of his front foot. Johnson made the change; his control dramatically improved and he became a great pitcher.

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