Saying “there were a lot of special moments created here,” Randy Johnson thanked fans, teammates, front office personnel, even the clubhouse guys, when the Arizona Diamondbacks retired his No. 51 at Phoenix on Saturday.
Johnson won four consecutive National League Cy Young Awards and a World Series championship, threw a perfect game at age 40, and as he noted, killed a bird with a pitch during his eight seasons – over two stints – with the Diamondbacks.
The honor came two weeks after Johnson’s induction as a first-ballot selection to baseball’s Hall of Fame.
He joins former teammate Luis Gonzalez as the only Arizona players to have their number retired by the franchise.
Johnson strode to the infield from the bullpen, the same walk he took in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.
When the ceremony was over, he stood on the mound he had so dominated and waved to the big crowd.
The Diamondbacks presented Johnson with an exact replica of the drum set used by the rock group Rush. Johnson is friends with members of the band, particularly bass player and lead singer Geddy Lee.
Johnson bent over in surprise and threw his hands in the air.
He took the microphone and spoke to the crowd, listing thanks by name, including many players from his World Series championship team. He said his third baseman at the time, now manager of the Washington Nationals’ Matt Williams, “was the closest to my personality” on game day than anyone he had known. He thanked fans that rooted for him and against him.
In eight seasons over two stints with Arizona, Johnson was 118-62 with a 2.83 ERA. He struck out 2,077 with the Diamondbacks and had 416 walks.
Iglesias OK with dugout scuffle
A day after he was involved in a dugout scrap with a teammate, Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias said he was fine with his role in the altercation.
“I just go by instincts, and my instincts tell me to do that,” he said. “I’m OK with it.”
Iglesias shoved Tigers catcher James McCann and threw his glove at him during a 7-2 loss to Boston on Friday night.
A replay showed McCann approaching Iglesias in the dugout. Iglesias shoved McCann in the chest before being restrained by third baseman Nick Castellanos. Then the All-Star shortstop threw his glove.
Clearing the bases
Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez is headed back to Miami to be examined by a doctor after feeling stiffness in his right shoulder following Friday night’s start against the Braves. Fernandez is 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA in six starts this season since returning from Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow.… Washington Nationals center fielder Denard Span experienced a setback in his rehabilitation from a back injury, delaying his return from the disabled list. The Nationals placed backup second baseman Dan Uggla on the 15-day disabled list with back spasms.
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