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Randy Johnson Calls It A Career; Next Stop Cooperstown

Posted on January 05, 2010 by Dean Hybl
After 22 seasons and 303 wins, Randy Johnson has announced his retirement.

After 22 seasons and 303 wins, Randy Johnson has announced his retirement.

The day before the 2010 class of the Baseball Hall of Fame is announced, flame-throwing lefthander Randy Johnson has announced his retirement from baseball after a career that will unquestionably culminate with a trip to Cooperstown.

While there is no guarantee that a player will be selected for the Hall of Fame when the 2010 voting is announced tomorrow (Wednesday), Johnson will be one of those no-brainer selections that make the Hall of Fame committee happy.

The most dominant pitcher in the game for a significant stretch of his career, Johnson used his 6-foot-10-inch frame to intimidate and dominate hitters for nearly 20 years.

Originally drafted by the Montreal Expos, Johnson was sent to Seattle in a 1989 trade for Mark Langston.

As it turned out, Johnson became the dominant left-hander the Expos thought they were getting with Langston.

Johnson teamed with Ken Griffey Jr. to give the Mariners two of the best players in baseball during the 1990s.

His first standout season came in 1993 when Johnson went 19-8 and finished second in the Cy Young voting. By 1995, Johnson was unquestionably the top lefthander in the American League.

Even with a strike costing him several starts, Johnson finished 18-2 with a league-best 2.48 ERA to win the first of his five Cy Young Awards. He also played a huge part in helping the Mariners defeat the New York Yankees in the playoffs and reach the American League Championship Series for the first time in team history.

Johnson was traded to Houston in 1998 and went 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA to help the Astros into the playoffs.

Moving to Arizona in 1999, he quickly became the best pitcher in baseball.  Johnson won 81 games and four straight Cy Young Awards over the next four years.

Johnson won four straight Cy Young Awards while with the Diamondbacks.

Johnson won four straight Cy Young Awards while with the Diamondbacks.

During the 2001 postseason, Johnson went 5-1, including winning three games against the Yankees in the World Series.

Age eventually caught up with Johnson, but not before he posted a perfect game against the Atlanta Braves in 2004 and then won his 300th game in 2009.

With a career record of 303-166, a career ERA of 3.29 and 4,875 career strikeouts, Johnson ranks among the all-time best and will go down as the dominant pitcher of his era.

2010 Hall of Fame Picks

There is no clear-cut choice among those on the 2010 ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Holdovers Andre Dawson and Bert Blyleven each received more than 60% of the votes last year and should inch closer to the necessary 75%.

My prediction is that Dawson will sneak in with just above the limit while Blyleven will fall just short.

Among the first-time candidates, Roberto Alomar would seem to have the best chance to earn induction in his first year on the ballot. Alomar was the dominant second baseman in the league for more than a decade.

However, his career statistics are not so overwhelming that he will automatically earn induction. I expect he will be very close and it could go either way.

This could finally be the year that Andre Dawson takes his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

This could finally be the year that Andre Dawson takes his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Many experts believe designated hitter Edgar Martinez is deserving of a spot in the Hall. He was the best designated hitter of his era, but when you don’t play a position in the field you have to be unquestionably better than everyone else and that just wasn’t the case for Martinez.

Fred McGriff and Barry Larkin should also receive some support, but don’t expect either one to get near induction soon.


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