Big Unit's daughter is a volleyball star

Willow Johnson's left-handed spike may remind you of someone

February 25th, 2021
Photo via University of Oregon

There have always been kids of baseball players who have turned into star athletes.

Some, of course, become baseball players: Ken Griffey Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., Vlad Guerrero Jr. or Barry Bonds.

Others may choose other sports: Former pitcher Pat Mahomes' son Patrick Mahomes II is already an all-time great QB.

There's also another baseball player child that you may not have heard of. She's dominating her sport and helping to turn it into a pro league in America. Her name is Willow Johnson, daughter of Hall of Famer Randy.

The New York Times wrote up a great profile on the 22-year-old on Thursday -- detailing her successful career at the University of Oregon, her foray into pro women's vollyeball in Turkey and now, her trailblazing participation in the first professional women's volleyball league in the U.S.

Johnson, who now even has her own Topps card, was a star in her college years -- taking home All-Pac-12 and All-America honors. She's ninth all-time in the program with a .272 hitting percentage. And as the Times notes, the 6-foot-3 lefty has definitely taken after her dad in more ways than one:

"Johnson and her famous father bear a striking resemblance, especially in competition. Both are tall, imposing athletes. Both wield a lethal left arm, seemingly built to unleash fury on opponents, and both have a fiery side when competing. The similarities have long been evident to Willow, who has taken time to watch video highlights of her father that reinforced her own memories."

Photo via willowj4 on Instagram

Randy attends many of her games, and although he's made a second career as a photographer, he doesn't bring his camera. He tries to just be a dad, taking in the competition with the other parents (as much as a 6-foot-10 MLB Hall of Famer can just be part of the crowd).

The new league begins this weekend and will run through the end of March. Willow is excited about bringing her sport into the spotlight.

“I feel really honored to be able to play in my home country," she told the Times. "I want to help grow something and 20 years from now look back and say, ‘Yeah, I was on that first team.’”

Photo via University of Oregon

Let's just hope no stray birds get into the gym ahead of that laser of a left spike.