Following is the text of Randy Johnson's Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech, delivered Sunday, July 26, 2015, in Cooperstown, N.Y. It was transcribed by Kevin Schindler
Thank you. I’m so honored and privileged to be here. I’ll be forever linked in the 2015 inductee class, with John, Craig and Pedro. Thank you. There’s a lot of people on this journey that I’ve had for 22 years in the major leagues. That’s what it’s about for me today — giving the recognition that they so rightly deserve.
First I’d like to thank all the sportswriters for voting me into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Thank you. Secondly I’d like to thank the Hall of Fame executives and staff. Jane, you have brought hospitality to a new level for my family, guests and me. Thank you.
I never thought I would be on this stage, baseball’s greatest fraternity. And it’s humbling to look behind me and see the best who have ever played this game. I had the honor of playing against many of these gentlemen. Some I watched on TV. But it would have been really fun to face you Reggie.
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My journey in baseball lasted 44 years. I started when I was seven years old playing little league baseball in Livermore, California -- a small little town. I went from Little League to Babe Ruth to high school. I’d like to say thank you to Steve Fallon and his mom Betty for coming all the way from California, from Livermore, to be here. Thank you. After my time in Livermore California was over, there was a decision I had to make. I got drafted by the Atlanta Braves and I also had an opportunity to go to college. I chose to go to college and further my education. I played for the legendary baseball coach Rod Dedeaux at USC. A few of my teammates are here. Thanks for being here, Albie, Phil, Randy. You traveled a long ways -- thank you. I didn’t learn how to throw a lot of strikes there but I did learn how to take a few pictures, and that’s my passion today and always has been and always will be.
After USC I was drafted in 1985 by the Montreal Expos, the first team that gave me an opportunity to play in the major leagues. I’m forever indebted to them. As you know my minor league career was not stellar. It took me four years in the minor leagues to finally get a call-up in 1988 as a September call-up. I relish that moment, getting to pitch in Montreal against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The following year, ’89, didn’t go so well. I got sent back to the minor leagues.
Then I was part of a trade from Montreal to Seattle that would bring Mark Langston from Seattle to Montreal and myself, Brian Holman and Gene Harris to Seattle. Brian Holman’s here with his wife Jamie. Thank you for traveling so far away to be here on this important day to me. Thank you Jamie and Brian. The trade to Seattle set my career in motion. It was my apprenticeship, ten years there. I played with Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Omar Vizquel, Dan Wilson, and so many more. Ken Griffey Jr. will surely be here next year. There were some lean years there in Seattle as we were learning how to play our game. Lou Piniella came into place and “refuse to lose” became our motto in 1995. With his leadership and his guidance we came down in ’95 to a one-game playoff. Ironically enough I would pitch against the same gentleman that I got traded to for Montreal, Mark Langston, in a one-game playoff for the AL West. A very magical moment for Seattle, and I’m very proud to have played there for 10 years. Thank you Seattle. I’d also like to thank ownership for being here on this important day for me. Howard Lincoln, Chris Larson, Randy Adamack, Kevin Martinez , and one of only a few catchers who could ever handle me over my 22-year career, and understand me, Dan Wilson and his wife Annie.
As my time finished in Seattle I went to Houston for two months. It would inevitably be the two best months of my career, pitching 11 starts and going 10-1. And the Houston Astrodome wasn’t bad to pitch in, was it Nolan?
Then I became a free agent, going back home to Arizona, meeting Jerry Colangelo. He had a vision for that baseball team in Arizona. I bought into it and he believed in me. I played there and the ball started in motion there. Individual accomplishments are great but in 2001 we had a team that in spring training we were all on the same page and we never deviated or wavered from that. And it led us to the World Series, against the greatest team of all-time, the New York Yankees. Those were some very memorable moments there in Arizona. I’m so grateful for everybody I played with and the franchise.
I moved on from Arizona and then I went on to New York. I still remember getting a phone call from George Steinbrenner and welcoming me to play for the New York Yankees. I also enjoyed playing for Joe Torre. After two years in New York I came back to Arizona in 2007 and 2008. Recovering from back surgery, I thank Derrick Hall and Ken Kendrick for having me come back to Arizona.
In 2009 I finished my career in San Francisco. There’s so many memorable moments when I was growing up as a little boy watching the Vida Blues pitch in Oakland and watching Willie Mays also play before that, when I was even younger, for San Francisco.
My journey through baseball didn’t go without being injured. Having four knee surgeries, three back surgeries, and I tore my rotator cuff the last year of my career and still tried to pitch through it. I’ll be forever in debt for all the doctors and trainers that worked with me. Bret Fisher, a very good friend, and my physical therapist that lasted 22 years. Getting me through my career and these knee surgeries and back surgeries and a torn rotator cuff, I’ll be forever in debt to you Brett. Thank you for traveling out here for my important day.
As I said there was a lot of catchers in my career over 22 years. I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to pitch to so many. Dan Wilson, Damian Miller, and that game in Atlanta wouldn’t have been perfect without Robbie Hammock. Thank you.
Then there’s you the fans. I had the chance to play for six different teams, never really having a place I could call home, like Craig, to play my entire career there. I got to play with a lot of ballplayers, played with some of the greatest of my era. I played for wonderful fans every stop along the way. If I was a visiting player coming in to pitch against your team, you motivated me by screaming at me. If you were rooting for me, I would run through a brick wall for you and throw as many pitches as I needed to throw to get that game and us a victory.
Now that my baseball career is over, I have the opportunity to spur our USO and our troops all around the world. In six years of retirement I’ve been on seven USO tours – Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, South Korea, Cuba. It means a lot to me to see our men and women and what they do for all of us. We wouldn’t be here without the sacrifice from our men and women that protect our country, and at this time, I would like to point out and recognize two of my newest friends from the Wounded Warriors Project in Arizona that traveled all the way to be with me. Roy Halvorsen, special assistant and Kenji Nihipali. Thank you. Without your service to this country, nothing would be possible. I’m so grateful for you. Thank you very much for being here.
Now to my family. My dad passed away in 1992 on Christmas day. He saw three years of my career. Not a lot to brag about but there was that one game where I threw a no-hitter. I gave him a call, but he said it was far from perfect, I walked seven batters. Thirteen, fourteen years later I was perfect, dad, that one game. As I said I grew up in the Bay area. I emulated Vida Blue. He was a local left-handed pitcher that I could watch on a daily basis pitching for the Oakland A’s. I would be out in the front yard throwing a tennis ball against our garage door, a wooden garage door. My dad would come out after about a half hour with a hammer, put the hammer down, and say, “When you’re done playing catch against the wall, make sure you pound all those nails in.” He also took the time, as a police officer, when his shift was over, to come in his police uniform and watch me pitch in high school. I’ve never forgot those moments.
Then there’s my mom, the backbone to our family, working 25 years at General Electric as a secretary. I’m one of six children. She raised six children, still had a fulltime job and fed us and took care of all of us. Thank you mom –you’re the Hall of Famer. I can remember when I was seven years old, going to my first Little League practice. She and my dad were both at work. It was the way we were raised, we were kind of tough. As young ones you kind of did things on your own. I took myself to where Little League practice was being held. I came home confused because there were so many people there. By the time she got home I was walking through the door having never made the Little League practice. She took me by the hand and took me to my first Little League practice and made sure baseball would start for me on that day. I love you mom. I love you so much. You’re the most important person in my life.
Then there’s my siblings. My brother Jeff, my brother Greg, who passed away. My sisters Sue, Kathy and Debbie. You’re all the oldest, I’m the youngest and I‘m so grateful that you looked out for your little brother along the way.
Lastly there’s my family. As Craig and John said, baseball is a long sport. You’re not home much, someone has to run the household. I’ll be forever in debt to Lisa for looking out for our children and raising them. Thank you. Three daughters and a son. Samantha, Willow, Lexie and Tanner. There’s no accomplishments that I’ve achieved that would ever outweigh anything that you could ever do in life. I’m so blessed and happy that I’m watching you guys grow up and become young adults. I’m so proud of you. When I won my 300th game it was supposed to be a special moment, and it was. But my son was a batboy that day. I had pitched six innings, was watching the remainder of the game in the dugout. I was watching his every move in a San Francisco Giants uniform. We were getting closer to the finishing of the game. He was standing on the top step. As soon as the last out was made I watched his emotions. That’s what I took from that game that day. Winning the 300th game was great, but watching how emotional my son was was even better.
So many of the reasons I’ve been inducted into the Hall of Fame are long gone now. I no longer have a fastball, I no longer have a bad mullet, and my scowl is long gone. I’m so happy to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and be in the greatest fraternity of all time, and you the fans to share this great moment with me. In closing I would just like to thank everybody for being here, my special friends the Wounded Warriors, and also Zach Farmer, who I don’t know personally, but I called him two days ago. He’s dying with leukemia. I was reached by two different people to give him a call. He was an All American at Ohio State, left-handed pitcher. He wanted to talk to me. I called him a couple days ago. He doesn’t have long to live. Zach, I love you. I’ve never met you, but hang in there. And thank you once again. I appreciate it.