As noted yesterday, Randy Johnson was originally scheduled to pitch tonight, but is skipping the start due to tendinitis. Assuming he doesn't decide to jump back into the rotation Saturday or Sunday, and he doesn't get traded by the end of the year, and assuming this will be Craig Biggio's final season, this means that Randy Johnson will never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. But, it seems like it's worth it to take this opportunity to see how exactly someone can go through a major league career and hit 181 batters. Perhaps by looking at who he's plunked, and when, we can determine if these 181 plunks are the result of wildness, menace, bruise lust, a compulsion to throw things at people, or maybe just the side effect of a long career based on throwing pitches that move fast for batters to react effectively - either to hit the ball or avoid being hit by it. Or failing that, at least consider this post a tribute to those who have been drilled by Johnson and survived.
For the most part, Randy Johnson has hit 181 batters one at a time. He's only had 23 games in which he hit more than 1 batter, and only hit 3 batters in a game once. 133 of his plunks where thrown in 1 plunk games. He's hit 114 American League batters to just 67 National Leaguers. He hit 89 batters for the Mariners, 67 so far for the Diamondbacks, 22 for the Yankees and 3 during his brief stay with the Astros. He's hit 4 American League batters in interleague play with an NL team, but just 1 NL batter while pitching for the American League. He's hit 18 batters in a season twice - in 1992, and 2001, and led the league in plunks twice - in 1992 and 1993.
Johnson has been remarkably consistent spreading his plunks out over the first 4 months of the season - 32 in April, 33 in May, 32 in June and 33 in July - but he drops off in the final two months, plunking only 27 batters in August and 19 in September. He also had 4 October plunks and a March plunk in regular season play, but he never hit a batter in any of his 8 trips to the post season.
Johnson has only plunked back to back batters on 4 occasions and he only hit the same batter twice in a game once - last season on April 26th. He hit Toronto's Reed Johnson twice in that game, but just to show he hadn't learned anything from the experience, Reed Johnson went and got hit a third time in the game, by Tanyon Sturtze. Reed Johnson is tied with Jim Leyritz as Randy Johnson's favorite target - they've both been plunked 4 times by him. From August 6, 2005 to April 29, 2006, Randy Johnson threw 5 plunks, and 4 of them landed on Reed Johnson.
There are 9 batters who have been plunked 3 times by Randy Johnson, but only Darin Erstad is the only one Johnson managed to hit while pitching for 3 different teams.
Here's the complete history of batters plunked by Randy Johnson: