Randy Johnson Retires: Short Stint in San Francisco Will Always Be Remembered

Brian BodenContributor IJanuary 6, 2010

WASHINGTON - JUNE 04:  Randy Johnson #51 of the San Francisco Giants tips his hat to the crowd after winning his 300th career game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 4, 2009 in Washington, DC.  The Giants won the game 5-1.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Randy Johnson, 46, finally called it a career after 22 seasons.

Now five Cy Youngs, 10 All-Star appearances, 303 wins, and 4,875 strikeouts (second all-time) not only make this career remarkable, but memorable as well for all baseball fans and other Major League players who were able to witness this lefty pitch. 

Now all of these great accomplishments are great to talk about and will be on Johnson's Hall of Fame plaque in Cooperstown, but I want to just focus on what Johnson brought to the 2009 San Francisco Giants.

When Randy Johnson signed with the Giants during the offseason, not many fans knew what to expect. Here was a 45-year-old, injury-prone left-hander who was coming to a team that was built around its pitching staff where he definitely would not receive very much run support on a daily basis.

Most people, myself included, were hoping for about 10 wins, but to also be a great role model for the young, up-and-coming stars on the staff.

Now if it wasn't for an injury that sidelined him for about two months, his numbers would have looked a little more enticing. Instead he finished the season 8-6 with a 4.88 ERA.

Despite a few games where Johnson got knocked around a little bit, he had some great ones in a Giants uniform as he had a whole city rooting for him as he climbed to the 300-win plateau.

First off, let's go all the way back to April 19, where Johnson came into that start after getting rocked in his first two appearances as he started off the season 0-2.

The Giants were playing the Arizona Diamondbacks at home that day, and Johnson was in control from the very start. He showed Giants fans that he still had some left in the tank as he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning as he earned his first victory with his new club.

Johnson had a similar performance two starts later at home against the Colorado Rockies, where he struck out the first five batters of the game and pitched seven strong innings of shutout ball as he won his 297th career game.  

One of the more memorable games of Johnson's career came on May 22 on the road in Seattle because this was most likely the last time he would pitch in front of those fans.

Johnson pitched superbly as he ended up with a no-decision, but he walked off that mound with his head held high as 40,000 fans cheered his name and said thanks for all the great memories he gave that city throughout his tenure playing there.

On June 8 at Nationals Park, the day that Johnson and all baseball fans were waiting for finally came, as he became the 24th pitcher ever to win 300 games. Looking at the box score, this game was quite different from just about all of Johnson's other 299 wins because of the fact that he only had two strikeouts.

Lastly, June 30 was another memorable day for Johnson because he recorded his final victory as he outdueled the St. Louis Cardinals.

Obviously, Johnson will not be going into the Hall of Fame as a San Francisco Giant, but I can speak for all Giants fans by saying that he was a great player to watch and made this 2009 season more memorable.

Randy Johnson had a great career, and I am happy to say one of the greatest pitchers of all time last wore a San Francisco Giants jersey.


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