Former Phillies infielder turned GM, Ruben Amaro Jr. says MLB legend Randy Johnson was the ‘most intimidating pitcher’ he ever faced
He’s spent more time in the front office than on the field, but before he was a Philadelphia Phillies GM-turned-color commentator, Ruben Amaro Jr. wore a Phillies uniform himself.
Amaro has been around the game for most, if not all, of his life. His father, Ruben Amaro Sr., won a Gold Glove with the Phillies in 1964, months before his son was born.
So when Amaro says that Randy Johnson is the “most intimidating pitcher” he ever faced, he isn’t playing around.
Of course, Johnson’s resumé more than holds its own, even without Amaro’s endorsement; his 22-year career is one of the greatest in MLB history.
Johnson won a pitching Triple Crown, four ERA titles, and the 2001 World Series, for which he was MVP. His five Cy Young Awards are only outdone by Roger Clemens’ seven, though Johnson won four consecutively between 1999-2002, while Clemens never won more than two back-to-back.
The man nicknamed Big Unit led MLB in strikeouts nine times (insert Ferris Bueller joke here), including six 300+ strikeout seasons. Included in his 618 career games were 100 complete games and 37 shutouts.
Amaro attended Stanford University, while Johnson was at USC, teammates with Mark McGwire on the Trojans. Ironically, McGwire had more success as a pitcher than Johnson in his early college years.
According to Stathead, Amaro faced Johnson five times in his big-league career, three times in 1995, and twice in 1998, the infielder’s final season. Amaro went 1-for-5 in those at-bats with a single and a strikeout.
It’s safe to say they don’t make pitchers like Johnson anymore, which is good news for Phillies batters, and unfortunate for their starting rotation.