Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The Hall of Fame is the most prestigious honor a former player can receive, and it has been well documented this year after seeing Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux become first ballot Hall of Famers as well as the struggles of players such as Luis Gonzalez and Curt Schilling who were unable to secure enough votes for acceptance. The ballot in 2015 will not make it any easier for Schilling as there are several first-timers who will almost assuredly be voted in. Those players are Pedro Martinez and the Big Unit, Randy Johnson. Gonzalez will not be on the 2015 ballot, having not garnered the required 5 percent to stay on the ballot.
Maddux garnered 97.2 percent, Glavine received 91.9 percent of the votes and the Big Unit will almost assuredly command the same percentage Maddux received. Johnson has been enjoying life as a photographer since his retirement from the big leagues, but next year will be his first year on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. He is considered by most to be a shoo-in first ballot entry. Johnson’s stellar 22 year career spanned 6 teams, Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, New York Yankees, Arizona again, and San Francisco. His career numbers are staggering; he was 303-166 with a career ERA of 3.29, with 4875 strikeouts, and he also averaged 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings. He won the Cy Young Award five times and finished second three other times and was an All-Star 10 times.
My favorite memory of the Big Unit was in 2001 when the Diamondbacks defeated the Yankees in the World Series in 7 games when Johnson strode out of the bullpen in the ninth inning to keep the Yankees at bay until Gonzo hit his bases-loaded walk off single against Mariano Rivera. That was pure elation to see the team I loved win the championship. Now the next step is watching the most intimidating left-handed starting pitcher in MLB history put on the Hall of Fame jacket and get inducted into Cooperstown.
My hope is one day Curt Schilling, one of the great postseason pitchers of all time, will join Johnson eventually as a Hall of Famer.
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