It's true. It's a little sad for me actually because The unit is one of the few players from my childhood that was still playing. Griffey Jr. is the last I suppose and this will be his final year if he plays it out. Maybe Moyer?
Johnson came up with the Expos and was then traded to the Mariners. My friend Robert Rose, the guy with all the luck when getting cards, was a huge Randy Johnson fan. I kind of blew it off, but one thing was undeniable, Johnson had a hell of a strikeout pitch. He would whip his long arm with his 6'10" frame and the batter, especially left handers had no idea what was coming and no shot of hitting it.
As it turned out Robert was right on and the unit became, arguably, the most dominant pitcher in baseball. He will be a first ballot hall of famer if there is any justice. Frankly, he should be a unanimous selection, but he won't be because of some idiot that thinks that no one should go in that way.
He had an embarassingly good 1999-2002 where he averaged about 354 K's went 81-27. If you toss in the last half of 1998, he went 91-28. He is a 5 time Cy Young (4 in a row) and 10 time all star. He finished 2nd in the Cy voting 3 times.
I don't think there is anyone that things Randy was a roider which brings up an interesting question for the roid supporters out there: What would The Unit have done if he wasn't competing against roided up hitters. Easy you say, everyone was pitching against roided up hitters. Not so fast chief, what if other pitchers weren't using roids. I'm looking at you Roger. Roider Clemens beat out Johnson twice for the Cy. BTW, anyone that says that roids are ok. I've got a message. F U!
Anyway, Robert and I spent a lot of summers watching and talking about Johnson. You knew him when you saw him, always fun to watch, and his Rookies were easy to come buy. The year he struck out 300, Robert lost his mind. The year he went 18-2 and won his first Cy young after losing to Roger McDowell a couple years before.
I was glad I got to see him pitch the perfect game, albeit on TV. Honestly I'm not sure who was more feared in their prime, him or Nolan.
I haven't seen Robert in 13 years and have no idea where he is at but I know he probably feels the same way that I do about hearing the news. Anyway, without being too sentimental, thanks Randy.