We’ll never see the likes of Randy Johnson again. The image of this enormous man, who resembled a pre-historic serpant on the mound, hair flying, limbs flailing, as if backed by the wailing guitars of Satan’s house band, will be impossible to erase from our collective memory. He was one of the greatest starting pitchers I’ve ever seen in his prime–along with Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, and Greg Maddux–as well as one of the most viscerally intimidating. He was downright frightening, almost to the point of being comic. But he wasn’t a fool, and it was hard to laugh too tough when he was stuffing up the Yankees’ asses, first with Seattle and then Arizona. That he was able to harness all of his moving parts, his wildness–both physical and emotional–and become an all-time great pitcher is one of the great feats of the past twenty-five years.
One of a kind, as they say. With an all-time moniker: The Big Unit. I don’t know if many fans will exactly miss him, but nobody is sure to forget him.
[Painting by Viasta Volcano]