All your favorite teams and sources in one place

Build your feed

Your Teams.
All Sources.

Build your feed

© 2024 BVM Sports. Best Version Media, LLC.

No results found.
Randy Johnson was a HOF pitcher; Now he’s a photographer
10/21/2001 --- NLCS Game 5 --- ATLANTA, GA: Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson throws in first inning. (Photo: Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY)

Randy Johnson was a HOF pitcher; Now he’s a photographer

PHOENIX (BVM) – Randy Johnson – at 6-foot-10 — was the tallest player in MLB history when he entered the league which led to him being nicknamed “The Big Unit.” After playing 22 seasons in the MLB for six teams, Johnson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015, his first year of eligibility.

But one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history has rediscovered an old passion of his in the time since his retirement: photography. Nowadays, you can find Johnson and his 6-foot-10 frame on the sidelines of NFL games on Sundays, or shooting photos of wildlife in Africa. 

Randy Johnson’s MLB career 

Despite being selected right out of high school by the Atlanta Braves in the fourth round of the 1982 MLB Draft, Johnson accepted a full scholarship to play baseball at USC. It was the Montreal Expos who Johnson made his major league debut in 1988 after they selected him in the second round of the 1985 MLB Draft, but Johnson would appear in just 11 games for the Expos before being traded to the Seattle Mariners in 1989. 

Johnson led the American League in walks for three consecutive seasons (1990-92) to begin his tenure in Seattle before breaking out in 1993. That season, he posted a 19-8 record, 3.24 ERA and the first of his six 300-plus strikeout seasons (308), becoming the first Mariners pitcher to reach 300 strikeouts in a single season. 

After a strike-shortened season in 1994, Johnson won the AL Cy Young Award in 1995 with an 18-2 record. It would be the first of five Cy Young awards for Johnson who won four straight from 1999-2002. 

Johnson was traded to the Houston Astros early in the 1998 season after not receiving a contract extension from the Mariners. He spent just one season in Houston – posting a 10-1 record in 11 regular-season starts – before agreeing to a four-year contract worth $52.4 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks, a second-year franchise at the time.

Two seasons later, in the franchise’s fourth year of existence, Johnson and fellow pitcher Curt Schilling carried the Diamondbacks to their first World Series appearance and victory in 2001 over the New York Yankees. Johnson and Schilling shared World Series MVP honors. The next year, in 2002, Johnson won the pitching Triple Crown by leading the NL in wins, ERA and strikeouts before spending the majority of the 2003 season on the disabled list. 

Johnson made history in 2004, however, pitching the 17th perfect game in MLB history and becoming the oldest pitcher to accomplish this feat at 40 years of age. That year would also mark Johnson’s final season as the MLB’s strikeout leader (he did it nine times) and his last All-Star appearance.

The Big Unit had short stints with the Yankees and San Francisco Giants, including a return to the Diamondbacks, before retiring in 2010 at the age of 46. The 10-time All-Star earned 303 career victories which are the fifth-most by a left-hander in MLB history and his 4,875 strikeouts put him second all time behind Nolan Ryan among left-handers. Johnson is one of five pitchers to toss a no-hitter in both leagues and he’s just one of 20 pitchers ever to record a win against all 30 MLB franchises. 

Known for his intimidating persona, overpowering fastball and uncommon longevity, Johnson is simply one of the best pitchers in MLB history. 

Randy Johnson Photography

Although Johnson became one of the MLB’s most feared pitchers, photography was his first passion that never went away. 

Johnson’s photography company is a few years old – and he was even the official tour photographer for Rush in 2015 – but many are discovering the Hall of Famer’s artistic exploits for the first time thanks to Business Insider editor Sophia Kleeman’s tweet on Wednesday morning. 

“My career as a Major League baseball pitcher has been well documented, but what is not as well known is my passion for photography, which began when I studied photojournalism at the University of Southern California from 1983-85,” reads the “about” section of Johnson’s photography site. “Baseball became my occupation for two decades but my love of photography never left. Following my 2010 retirement, I was able to focus my attention back to this passion.”

Randy Johnson Photography
Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson shoots Peter Frampton during the Finale – The Farewell Tour at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix on Sept. 26, 2019. (Credit: Darryl Webb/Special for The Republic, Arizona Republic via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

Johnson goes on to say that his photography career has allowed him “to capture various rarities from the beauty of many African safaris to motorsports, to multiple major music artists.”

His company logo is one that’s very personal to him and recognizable to anyone who followed Johnson’s illustrious MLB career. Johnson famously eviscerated a dove with a fastball during a spring training game in 2001 and his company’s logo satirizes that iconic moment.

Johnson’s photography has been featured in publications such as Rolling Stone, Spin and Metal Hammer while his concert photography has found its way into tour programs, posters, books and websites.

While many former professional athletes struggle to acclimate to the real-world following retirement, Johnson has settled in nicely with an old passion.

“Photography has taken me on an amazing journey, but it’s only just beginning,” Johnson’s “about” page reads. “I look forward to visiting places I’ve never been, shooting things I’ve never seen, and getting better each and every day.”