20 Years Ago Today: Randy Johnson Destroyed a Bird With A Fastball
On March 24, 1991, during a spring training game with the Arizona Cardinals, future Hall-of-Fame pitcher Randy Johnson hit a bird with a fastball during the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants.
The batter at the time was Giants outfielder Calvin Murray, the uncle of Arizona Cardinals Quarterback Kyler Murray. He told reporters after the game; "The bird just exploded. Feathers everywhere. Poof. I never saw the bird. All I saw was feathers."
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) actually considered pressing charges against Johnson for animal cruelty, even though he had zero control of what had occurred.
The game wasn’t even broadcast on TV. The only known video was taken by Diamondbacks’ video coordinator Jim Currigan, and it lives on thanks to YouTube:
The umpire rightfully called it a no pitch. Under Rule 8.01(c), umpires can make calls in situations not covered by the rules using "common sense and fair play.”
The 57-year-old Hall-of-Famer is now an acclaimed photographer of wildlife, travel, and even concerts. Oh, and his logo for his company, rj51photos.com, is a dove, on its back, with an ‘x’ over its eyes.
The video below, "Requiem For A Bird,” originally aired on the Arizona's "Diamondbacks Live" pregame show on the night Randy Johnson had his #51 retired by the Diamondbacks.
Johnson retired after the 2009 season, amassing 4,875 career strikeouts, 303 wins, 10 all-star awards, threw two no-hitters, including a perfect game -- at the age of 40, and threw nearly 70,000 pitches in his 22-year career. But it's the non-pitch, 20 years ago today, that will always be talked about.
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