It's official: Randy Johnson retires
As Randy Johnson announced his retirement this afternoon, he wanted to make one thing perfectly clear: He is not coming back.
"I think I learned a lesson over the last few years by watching guys retire and un-retire," Johnson said in a conference call. "That's their decision. That's not the way I pictured retiring for myself."
So Johnson said he took his time this winter, waiting to make his decision until he could do so "wholeheartedly, and stick to it." He put the chance of him staying retired at 100%.
"There's not a 99.9% chance," he said.
Roger Clemens put his chance of retirement at 99.9% after the 2003 and 2004 seasons, then returned each time.
Johnson said he believed he could have played another year. However, he said his skills "obviously were diminishing" during the past three to four years. And, after enduring two back surgeries and rehabilitation for a torn rotator cuff over the past three years, he said he appreciated the chance to go out on his own terms, rather than being released for injury or ineffectiveness.
"I would like to coach down the road," he said.
For now, he said he would enjoy a summer with his family and perhaps partake in some activities generally forbidden under the standard player contract.
"Parachuting, zip-lining, swimming with great whites in Australia," he said, chuckling.
As he watched the World Series this year, with all the debate about whether the New York Yankees should use their starting pitchers on three days' rest, he said he thought back to the 2001 World Series, the only one in which he pitched. He started Game 6, working seven innings for the victory, then finished Game 7 -- on the very next day -- working 1 1/3 innings for the victory.
"I had more in the tank," he said.
Johnson would not say what cap he would prefer to wear into the Hall of Fame, but he did say how he would like to be remembered.
"I worked hard, I was a fierce competitor, and I gave everything I had," he said.
-- Bill Shaikin
Photo: Randy Johnson, then with Arizona, points to the sky during Game 2 of the 2001 World Series against the New York Yankees. Credit: AP.