D-backs Vault: Big Unit puts on wrong cap

June 20th, 2021

MLB.com is digging back into its massive video vault to uncover classic plays that you have loved, forgotten about or, perhaps, are discovering for the very first time. Watch these moments and many, many more on the MLB Vault YouTube page.

April 16, 1999: Big Unit puts on wrong cap
Things got a little heated between the Giants and D-backs when San Francisco third baseman Charlie Hayes and Arizona right-hander Todd Stottlemyre got into it when Hayes was on second base. The benches emptied and among those who were in the middle of the scuffle was D-backs lefty Randy Johnson. During the melee, Johnson's hat fell off and when he picked up a hat off the ground and put it on, it didn't seem to fit quite right. That's because he had accidently picked up a Giants hat. Johnson quickly discarded the hat back on the ground and found his own. It would turn out to be a harbinger of things to come as Johnson wound up signing with the Giants and winning his 300th game in a San Francisco uniform.

June 12, 2002: Kim chucks ball into Monument Park
D-backs closer Byung-Hyun Kim was tired of seeing the images of him hunched over on the Yankee Stadium pitcher's mound after he'd allowed some of the most famous World Series homers in history to Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter and Scott Brosius the previous fall. So once he'd capped off a two-inning redemption save (including striking out the side in the eighth) in Arizona's 9-5 win on this June afternoon in the Bronx, Kim decided to exorcise those demons once and for all. After first baseman Mark Grace handed him the final-out ball, Kim smiled and underhand chucked it all the way to the netting above the famous Monument Park beyond left field.

“It was an act of defiance,” Kim later told Sports Illustrated. “Just showing the Yankees: Hey, it’s not just you that can hit it over the fence. I can hit it, too.”

July 21, 1999: Womack's inside-the-park grand slam
When the D-backs loaded the bases in the eighth inning against the Astros, closer Billy Wagner came on to try to end the Arizona threat. After jumping ahead of Tony Womack 0-2, he got a little too much of the plate with his next pitch and Womack poked it into left field. Lance Berkman, who was playing in his sixth big league game, tried to make a diving catch and came up short. The ball scooted by him and Womack was off to the races. The four runs erased a 4-3 deficit as the D-backs went on to win the game, 7-4.

The hit was the first inside-the-park home run in franchise history and it left Wagner scratching his head.

"I've never seen anything like it before," Wagner said after the game. "When you come in with a bases-loaded situation, you've got to make a good pitch. I had an 0-2 count on him and thought I had thrown a good pitch. But it falls in for a grand slam."

Sept. 19, 2003: The Big Unit's only career homer
Randy Johnson was never much of a hitter, and to be fair, he had some long levers to maneuver for a swing. Plus, he more than made up for it with the whole pitching thing.

But across 22 seasons and 691 regular-season plate appearances, even the Big Unit ran into one ball that cleared the fence. Johnson's lone career homer came off Brewers southpaw Doug Davis, just barely landing in the Crew's bullpen. You'll notice that while Johnson dominated from the left side of the mound, he's taking the platoon advantage here because he batted right-handed. Despite his career-long lack of power, the 6-foot-10 Johnson is still tied with fellow pitcher Chris Young as the second-tallest player to homer in the Majors, trailing only 6-foot-11 hurler Jon Rauch.

March 31, 1998: First lineup in team history
Arizona had a long history with professional baseball. Whether it was the Triple-A Phoenix Giants/Firebirds or Spring Training, there was always plenty of baseball. But the state longed for a Major League team to call its own. Finally in 1995, baseball awarded a franchise to Phoenix, and the Arizona Diamondbacks were born. It would still be three years before the team played its first game, and the announcement of the starting lineup that night was the end of one long journey and the beginning of another.

July 11, 1999: Bell's million-dollar grand slam
Jay Bell rarely showed emotion on the baseball diamond, so when he raised his hands above his head while rounding first base after hitting a grand slam you knew something was different. Indeed, as part of a promotion with Shamrock Farms at the time, one fan was chosen before Sunday home games and that fan had to choose the player and the inning in which he would hit a grand slam. The payoff? A cool $1 million for the fan. Bell noticed pregame on the scoreboard that Gylene Hoyle had selected him to hit a grand slam in the sixth inning. As fate would have it, Bell came to bat in the sixth and delivered for Hoyle, who later said that the money relieved the stress in her life. Bell called it the favorite moment of his career.

Sept. 27, 2011: Roberts imitates Kirk Gibson's famous homer
Ryan Roberts' two-out grand slam off the Dodgers' Javy Guerra in the 10th inning was his first career walk-off homer. It was a big win for the D-backs, who were chasing the Brewers at the time to see who would have home-field advantage in the upcoming National League Division Series. To commemorate the event and pay tribute to his manager, Kirk Gibson, Roberts imitated Gibson’s legendary first pump rounding second base. Gibson made the gesture famous when he homered off Dennis Eckersley in the bottom of the ninth inning to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.