An Open Letter To Randy Johnson From Caesar Cliffius
The first thing I would like to do is to congratulate you on a glorious 22-year career.
If there was ever a player who is certain to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, you, sir, are the one. There should be absolutely no question in anybody’s mind that you rank among the best in history.
When you are elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, you will be the pitcher with the most Cy Young Awards to be enshrined in the lofty museum. Oh sure, Roger Clemens had seven Cy Young Awards to your five, but his have a thunder cloud hanging over them. If he ever does gets enshrined, it will be years from now.
Not only did you win five CYAs, you were runner-up three times and finished third once. Very impressive, indeed!
That sounds incredible to say: five Cy Young Awards.
But that, my good man, is just the beginning. You have struck out more batters than any left-hander in history. Being second to the great Nolan Ryan is clearly nothing to be ashamed of. The closest “active” pitcher to you in total strikeouts is Pedro Martinez with 3,154, which pales in comparison to your 4,875. It is unclear as I pen this letter whether he will even return for another season.
You are the only pitcher in history to start two All-Star games for the American League and two for the National League.
You threw two no-hitters, with one of them being the most revered accomplishment in baseball: a perfect game. I mean, you cannot improve on perfection, can you?
You finished your career ranked 22nd among all pitchers in wins, with 303. You, sir, have the highest strikeout/nine innings of anyone who ever played, at 10.6098.
On three occasions you won 20 or more games, leading the National League with 24 in 2002, when you won the Triple Crown. Two of your 20-win seasons were in the National League and one in the American League.
You led the National League in ERA three times, and once in the Junior Circuit. You were also the league leader in CG four times and in shutouts twice.
Five times you were the National League Leader in strikeouts, and four times in the American League. You led the league six times in ERA+, ending your career with a very fine 136.
You had the best WHIP in the league three times, and nine times you averaged more than 12 strikeouts per nine innings.
You, my good man, have provided us with thrill after thrill. It has been a joy being a devout Randy Johnson fan, and as you now take your place among baseball mortals, I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Jan. 8, MMX
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