Randy Johnson prepared but nervous as Hall of Fame induction nears
Randy Johnson has been told he has 10 to 11 minutes to share his thoughts when he’s inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 27.
Anyone who’s seen his press conference following his election, or listened in on his teleconference with the baseball media on Thursday, has to believe that will be a tall order for the Big and increasingly eloquent Unit.
"I’m about as prepared as I can be," Johnson said Thursday. "I believe I will be more nervous than for any game I’ve ever pitched."
Johnson said Thursday he’s had the help of a "few people" in preparing his speech.
"It’s mostly going to be a lot of thank yous to people that have been there throughout the course of my career, that got me there, kept me there, supported me," he said. "I really feel it’s a great opportunity on the biggest stage of all to give thanks to these people, the organizations, the fans, my teammates.
"A lot of thanking will be done on that day. I want to give thanks to everybody I can in a short period of time."
Johnson will be doing more than thanking, however. Photography has played an increasingly large role in his post-big-league career, and he plans to indulge that passion on induction weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y.
"Access always leads to more interesting pictures," he said. "Being an inductee this year, I will have the greatest vantage point of anybody, and I would like to share these moments with anybody that’s interested. So I will be snapping away, taking pictures of my other three inductee brothers, and then maybe a selfie or two of me with any of the 40 or 50 thousand people that are in the field on Hall of Fame Day."
Johnson said he’s also spoken with Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson about a secondary project, where he will spend a few days at the Hall of Fame museum, photograph 15 to 20 items of interest, make some enlargements, have them framed and then displayed at the museum.
Johnson was asked about his decision to sign as a free agent with the Diamondbacks in the second-year of their existence, coming off a 97-loss season, and said it was the "greatest move of my career."
He was living in Arizona, which gave D-backs owner Jerry Colangelo greater opportunity than the other teams that were hotly pursuing him — Dodgers, Angels, Rangers — to sell his vision for the future.
"I bought into Mr. Colangelo’s vision, and things slowly but surely started coming together," Johnson said. "He’s one of the best owners that I’ve played for. I trust him. It was the best run of my baseball career, and that’s why I’m going in (to the Hall of Fame) as a Diamondback."
Johnson said he looks back fondly on his 10 years in Seattle as the time and place where he came of age as a pitcher and a person, but in Arizona "I got to a whole ‘nother level in my baseball career, a whole ‘nother level that I never envisioned."