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10 defining moments from RJ's time in Arizona: #10-#7

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To mark Randy Johnson's election to the Hall of Fame, here are the first four of ten moments that stick in the mind from the Big Unit's eight seasons with Arizona.

10. Septenber 19, 2003. Johnson goes yard

Randy was not a great offensive threat, shall we say. His career line was .125/.153/.152, with a K:BB ratio of 296:19, and he also famously wiped out rounding first, on what should have been an easy double. Of course, while having about the biggest strike-zone ever didn't help, an OPS+ of -22 puts him among the 20 worst hitters of the expansion era. But for one at-bat against future Diamondback teammate Doug Davis, Johnson was Babe Ruth, with a 385-foot solo bomb to left field in the third inning. Said Davis after the game, "He puts the ball in play, but I didn't know he had pop. And I guarantee he didn't know it, either."

9. July 18, 2001. Fans 16 in relief vs. San Diego

There was only one regular season relief appearance during his time with Arizona, but it was certainly memorable. A power outage at the Padres' park curtailed the game the previous night after only two innings, and with San Diego stacking their starting line-up with left-handers to face Curt Schilling, the appearance of Johnson the next day as a replacement must have been an unwelcome surprise. The 16 K's broke a record for a relief appearance set by Walter Johnson in 1913, while he and Schilling came within four outs of a no-hitter, broken up by Wiki Gonzalez with two outs in the eighth. Said RJ, "By no means do I try to go out and strike people out. But I got in a groove."

8. March 25, 2001. Killing a bird during spring training

Yeah, it was unfortunate, but it certainly deserves to be mentioned. It was just a routine pre-season game against the Giants in Tucson, with Johnson pitching the seventh inning. Unfortunately, a dove demonstrated impeccably bad timing, blocking the Big Unit pitch: it did not end well. Catcher Rod Barajas said, "I'm sitting there waiting for it, and I'm expecting to catch the thing, and all you see is an explosion. It's crazy. There's still feathers down there." Johnson was less impressed at the time, opining "I didn't think it was all that funny." But he seems to appreciate the humor better now, and uses a dead bird logo for his photography business.

7. May 8, 2001. Strikes out 20 against Cincinnati

Diamondbacks pitchers have struck out more than a dozen players in a game on 44 occasions. 80% of those (35) belong to Randy Johnson. He has 11 of the dozen 15+ strikeout appearances. But for sheer dominance, you can't beat this night at Bank One Ballpark, even if he didn't get the W, leaving after nine innings with the game tied. No major-league pitcher since has come closer than 18 strikeouts, and it's possible no National League pitcher ever will. But Johnson's then manager, Bob Brenly, didn't feel it was unexpected: "While it was going on, you're not surprised by it because it's Randy Johnson. He's capable of doing things like that."