Randy Johnson, considered among the top pitchers in Major League history, is in his seventh season as Special Assistant to D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. In his role, he assists the organization both on and off the field, working primarily with the team’s Minor League pitchers while also assisting in the community and appearing on team broadcasts.
In 2015, Johnson reached the pinnacle of his career as he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., becoming the first player to feature an Arizona Diamondbacks cap on his plaque. The 5-time Cy Young Award winner (4 with the D-backs), ranks second on the all-time Major League strikeout list with 4,875 and first among left-handers. A 10-time All-Star, he won 303 games in his career, including a perfect game, and holds nearly every major career pitching record in D-backs franchise history.
Shortly after his Cooperstown induction, Johnson had his No. 51 retired by the franchise, becoming just the third player to receive that honor, joining Luis Gonzalez (No. 20) and Jackie Robinson (No. 42).
In 2001, Johnson was named the co-MVP of the D-backs’ World Series championship, helping the franchise win the only major sports title in the state’s history in just the fourth year of the franchise’s existence. After striking out 11 New York Yankees in a 3-hit shutout in Game 2, Johnson pitched 7.0 innings to earn the victory in the do-or-die Game 6 and then came on in relief during Game 7 to earn the victory. Of the team’s 11 postseason wins that year, Johnson earned 5.
Johnson appeared in 22 big league seasons for the Expos, Mariners, Astros, D-backs, Yankees and Giants. His 303 career victories rank as the fifth-most by a left-hander in Major League history, while he holds five of the seven highest single-season strikeout totals by a southpaw in modern history. His 5 Cy Youngs rank second all-time to Roger Clemens’ seven and he is one of two pitchers to win the award 4 consecutive times (1999-2002) along with Greg Maddux (1992-95). In 1999, Johnson and Pedro Martinez joined Gaylord Perry in the rare feat of winning the award in both the American and National Leagues, a feat also matched by Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay and Max Scherzer. A nine-time strikeout king and four-time earned-run average champion, Johnson was regularly clocked above 100 miles per hour during his playing career, leading to numerous incredible single-game performances. He struck out 20 batters in a game on May 8, 2001 vs. Reds and holds the Major League record for most strikeouts in a relief appearance (16 @ Padres on July 18, 2001).
On May 18, 2004, Johnson became the oldest pitcher in Major League history to throw a perfect game when he accomplished the feat at Atlanta at age 40. The left-hander also pitched a no-hitter for the Seattle Mariners on June 2, 1990 vs. Detroit and is 1 of 5 pitchers to throw a no-hitter in both the American and National Leagues.
Johnson retired from baseball in January 2010 and on Jan. 6, 2015, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility with 97.3-percent of the vote, the third-highest percentage of all time for pitchers. He was inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame in 2012.
Nicknamed “The Big Unit,” the 6’10” Johnson held the title of tallest player in Major League history for much of his career before that was surpassed by his D-backs teammate Jon Rauch (6’11”).
Following his retirement from the game, Johnson has dedicated significant time to photography, traveling around the world to capture some of the most unique places in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East in addition to numerous concerts and high-profile sporting events. His passion for photography dates to his days as a student at the University of Southern California, where he majored in photo journalism and shot for the “Daily Trojan.”
A native of Walnut Creek, Calif., Johnson attended Livermore High School where he starred in baseball and basketball. In 1982, as a senior, he struck out 121 batters in 66.0 IP and threw a perfect game in his last high school start. He was drafted that year by the Atlanta Braves in the fourth round but elected to attend USC where he also played both sports.
An ardent supporter of the U.S. military, Johnson has taken numerous international trips with the USO to visit troops while also supporting initiatives to fight homelessness and befriending local Arizona youths with life-threatening medical issues. Randy Johnson Field, which he helped fund, is located at 16th St. & Jefferson in the shadows of Chase Field. In 2016, the D-backs dedicated Randy Johnson Hall of Fame field in Payson, Ariz., alongside D-backs Legends Field where his retired number is displayed on the scoreboard. The street outside Chase Field was renamed Randy Johnson Way in 2016.
Johnson has 5 children: Heather, Sammy, Tanner, Willow and Alexandria.