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PHOENIX - At 6-foot-10, Randy Johnson stood on the mound and looked down on batters, an intimidating presence before he even threw the ball.And when he let it fly, his talent matched his imposing stature.With a menacing fastball and devastating slider, The Big Unit had a career that rivaled any other left-handed pitcher who played the game. There is a long list of statistics to back that up, and he seems a shoo-in as a first-ballot selection when the new Hall of Fame class is announced Tuesday.His best seasons came with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he won four consecutive Cy Young awards — he had a total of five — and his only World Series championship. Every start was a display of searing intensity.We knew that every fifth day we were going to get one of the most competitive efforts in the history of the game, said Bob Brenly, his manager for most of his time in Arizona. He pitched every game like it was the most important of his life.Since his retirement in 2009, Johnson has mostly detached himself from baseball, concentrating on his love of photography, travelling the world, shooting pictures of his many rock musician friends, meeting with soldiers on USO tours to Kuwait, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.Johnson pitched 22 seasons with Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, the New York Yankees and San Francisco, compiling a 303-166 career record.He led his league in strikeouts nine times, third-most in baseball history behind Walter Johnson and Nolan Ryan. His average of 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings ranks first among all pitchers.Johnson had six seasons of at least 300 strikeouts, tied with Ryan for the most ever.A hard-throwing but extremely wild pitcher as a youngster at USC and in his early professional years, Johnson worked with Ryan and pitching coach Tom House in 1992 to fix his mechanics. And he developed remarkable control.Hes out of the mould physically when it comes to a major league pitcher, Brenly said. For him to go from where he was at the beginning of his career in Montreal when he was just a wild, hard thrower to where he finished his career — this guy would regularly strike out 300 more guys than he walked in a season.Thats a slight exaggeration, although Johnson did accomplish it once. In 2001, he fanned a career-high 372 and walked 71. It was the greatest season in Johnsons career, largely because of the way it ended.In the seventh game of a World Series considered by many to be the best ever played, with the New York Yankees leading 2-1, Johnson jogged down to the bullpen to thunderous cheers from the home crowd. When he emerged from the bullpen to pitch with two outs in the eighth inning, the reaction was even louder.For all the great moments there were in that World Series, Brenly said, people continuously tell me that when Randy ran down to the bullpen, then when the door opened and he came out of it, that was the seminal moment in that World Series.Johnson retired all four batters he faced, then Arizona scored twice off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth to win it all in just the franchises fourth season. Johnson was 3-0 in the series and earned co-MVP with Curt Schilling.A lot of left-handed hitters on opposing teams took the day off when Johnson pitched. The rest of the lineup knew they were in for a challenge.Its almost like youre going into a game with a 1-0 lead because of the psychological advantage he gave to the team, teammate Luis Gonzalez said. ... He thrived on intimidating other teams.Johnson talked about his approach to baseball in an interview with reporters when he appeared at Chase Field last May for the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of his perfect game.I did what worked for me, he said. Doesnt mean it was the right way — it just worked for me. Whether it was working out the way I worked out, my regimen, my off-season training, my demeanour on game day, my demeanour working up to game day, it worked for me.In 2001, he became the third pitcher to strike out 20 in nine innings in a 4-3, 11-inning victory over Cincinnati. In 2002 he won the pitching version of the triple crown, leading the National League in wins, strikeouts and ERA.And in 2004, at the age of 40, he became the oldest person to throw a perfect game, a performance against Atlanta that still can be viewed on YouTube.Johnson has said hes not the same intense person he was back then. He stepped away from baseball for a long time, enjoying the easing of the internal pressure he always put on himself.I didnt have any problems retiring because I felt like I did what I wanted to do, he said in May. I deserved to walk away. Jordan Clarkson Jersey .com) - Robert Martin and Josh Hicks combined for more than 300 yards rushing and three touchdowns, as Rutgers rolled past North Carolina, 40-21, in the Quick Lane Bowl. Nick Van Exel Jersey . - The Cleveland Indians will place centerfielder Michael Bourn on the disabled list before their opener at Oakland on March 31. http://www.lakersbasketballshop.com/Kentavious-Caldwell-Pope-Jersey/. The teams were scoreless for most of the first two periods before Canada scored three times in a span of less than four minutes. Sarah Potomak opened the scoring on the power play. Brook Lopez Jersey . LeBron James believes hes a major reason for their early failures. Kurt Rambis Jersey . Barnard, 28, was 1-0 with a 0.53 ERA in three appearances, including two starts, with San Angel o this season. He struck out 19 batters and walked just one in 17 innings pitched. He has previous American Association experience with the Lincoln Saltdogs, El Paso Diablos and Amarillo Sox.EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The sprained left ankle for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is not considered serious, and the Minnesota Vikings are optimistic the rookie will play against Green Bay despite only three days to rest for Thursday nights game.Coach Mike Zimmer said Bridgewater was feeling a lot better the day after the injury. He had an MRI test that showed no major damage.Hopeful, was Zimmers answer Monday when asked if he believes Bridgewater will be able to face the rival Packers. Bridgewater was not present for the portion of practice that was open to reporters.Bridgewater passed for 317 yards and a key 2-point conversion and rushed for 27 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL start, a 41-28 victory over Atlanta that could hardly have been better for the first-round draft pick from Louisville until his left foot rolled underneath him during a short run early in the fourth quarter.He had X-rays, which were negative, and returned to the sideline without crutches by the end of the game. The perpetually upbeat Bridgewater acknowledged Sunday the decision on whether hell play this week will be up to the coaching staff and athletic trainers, but he said he wasnt worried about his ankle as he rode off on the cart. Bridgewater said he probably could have come back in the game if it were necessary.Christian Ponder, the starter for the majority of the previous three seasons, took over but did not attempt a pass.Bridgewater has experience recovering from injury in a shortened week. He broke his left (non-throwing) wrist and sprained his right ankle during a game in 2012 against Connecticut, and the Cardinals had to play at Rutgers five days later. Bridgewater didnt start the game, but he came off the bench to throw two second-half touchdown passes to lead a Louisville rally for the win and the Big East Conferences bid in the Bowl Championship Series.Hes the toughest quarterback in the nation, one of his teammate, Preston Brown, said after that game.The Vikings, after raving over the last several months about Bridgewaters poise, athleticism and grasp of the game, will now have their first true assessment of that toughness. With Matt Cassel out for thhe season with a broken left foot, Ponder started the week as the only healthy quarterback on the active roster.dddddddddddd McLeod Bethel-Thompson was signed to the practice squad last week, and Chandler Harnish was signed to the practice squad Monday.Harnish played at Northern Illinois under coach Jerry Kill, now the coach at Minnesota.The Falcons talked all week about needing to heed Bridgewaters ability to run with the ball, how that changes the entire dynamic of an offence, and he showed that on a few of his five carries.Hes a special player, running back Jerick McKinnon said.The Packers have struggled to stop the run, allowing a league-high average of 176 yards per game, and mobile quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson have especially given them trouble in recent years. So the Vikings probably cant afford to be without one of their best assets against a Packers team that revived its offence Sunday in a 38-17 win at Chicago over the Bears.The Vikings forced back-to-back punts in the fourth quarter Sunday while trailing 28-27, but for the game the Falcons converted 10 of 15 third downs. Over the last two weeks, the Vikings have allowed 19 of 28 third-down conversions. Theyre tied for the second worst in the NFL in that category.Its terrible. Weve got a lot of work to do. Im extremely disappointed in that. Well put a lot more time and effort into it than what we have, Zimmer said.NOTES: TE Kyle Rudolphs recovery from sports hernia surgery remains on track for less than two months, reinforcing the teams decision to avoid designating him as the one player who can be put on injured reserve with intent to return each season. Rudolph said he was dealing with the injury since the beginning of training camp and had the muscle tear fixed on both sides of his abdomen. Just get it fixed now so in November, December, January, Im playing at a high level, Rudolph said. ... LB Chad Greenway was not at practice after missing the game Sunday with a broken hand and a broken rib. Zimmer said he wasnt sure if hed be ready in time to play Thursday.___Online:AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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