Randall David "Randy" Johnson (born September 10, 1963), nicknamed "The Big Unit", is an American former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who played from 1988 to 2009 for six teams, primarily the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks. His 303 career victories rank as the fifth-most by a lefthander in major league history, while his 4,875 strikeouts place him second all-time behind Nolan Ryan and are the most by a lefthander. He holds five of the seven highest single-season strikeout totals by a lefthander in modern history. Johnson won the Cy Young Award five times, second only to Roger Clemens' seven; he is one of two pitchers to win the award four consecutive times (1999-2002), and in 1999 – along with Pedro Martínez – joined Gaylord Perry in the rare feat of winning the award in both the American and National Leagues. He is also one of five pitchers to hurl no-hitters in both leagues; with the second no-hitter, in 2004, he became the oldest pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game.
One of the tallest players in major league history at 6 feet 10 inches (2.08 m) and a ten-time All-Star, Johnson was celebrated for having one of the most dominant fastballs in the game; he regularly approached – and occasionally exceeded – 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) during his prime. He also threw a hard, biting slider. After struggling early in his career, gaining only 64 wins by his 30th birthday, he went on to lead his league in strikeouts nine times, and in earned run average, winning percentage and complete games four times each. Johnson was named co-MVP of the 2001 World Series, leading the Diamondbacks to a championship in only their fourth year of play. His .646 career winning percentage ranks sixth among lefthanders with at least 200 decisions, and among southpaws he ranks eighth in games started (603) and ninth in innings pitched (4,135⅓). He also finished his career first in strikeouts per nine innings pitched (10.67), third in hit batsmen (188), and tenth in fewest hits allowed per nine innings pitched (7.24). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015, his first year of eligibility.
By Dean Hanley