The numbers are impressive enough: 303 wins. 4,875 strikeouts. 5 Cy Young awards (4 of them in a row).
But they don't really tell the full story of Randy Johnson. You had to see the big fellow pitch. Ideally, you did that from the stands, and not from the left-handed batter's box.
Let's not forget: this is the guy who once killed a bird with a pitch. Sure, it was a freak thing, and it could have happened to anyone--but it didn't. The Big Unit killed a bird with a pitch!
He had a lethal combination: a sizzling fastball, a streak of wildness, and that stunning slider he called "Mr. Snappy". Who can forget that great bit of theater in the 1993 All-Star Game when he sailed a heater over John Kruk's head, then turned Mr. Snappy loose on the shattered Kruk? Here's the video--it's worth the watch.
Randy Johnson is truly the stuff of legend, the kind of ballplayer we'll be telling our grandkids we saw play. Nobody else looked like him, and nobody else in this generation pitched like him.
We fans got 22 years out of the big guy, but we'll be telling the stories way longer than that.
Thanks for the memories, Randy. But I have to tell you: those left-handed hitters won't miss you and your pal Mr. Snappy all that much.