6 Most Famous Randy Johnson Nicknames

This post contains all the famous Randy Johnson nicknames and the origins of these nicknames.

For lovers of sports, American former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball, Randall David Johnson, is an eminent personality whose record in the game places him on the honor list of baseball legends.

Born on September 10, 1963, in Walnut Creek, California, Johnson had a career that spanned 21 years, between 1988 and 2009, in which he played for six teams, including the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks. His illustrious career saw him amass 303 victories—the fifth-most for a left-handed player and 4,875 strikeouts, the second-most in the league’s history.

Nominated ten times to the All-Star team, Johnson holds the unique distinction of being the oldest pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game—a game in which a pitcher pitches a complete game victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings and in which no opposition player reaches first base— which he achieved in 2004.

Did you know that standing at an imposing 6 ft.10 in (2.08 m), Johnson was the tallest player in MLB history when he entered the league?

Most Popular Randy Johnson Nicknames

Well, now that you do, let’s check out interesting Randy Johnson Nicknames:

1. Randy

Johnson’s first name, Randall, is more often shortened to “Randy.” Randy is the diminutive form of the masculine names Randall or Randolph.

Randy first appeared on the US male naming charts as an independently given name in 1935. While the name comes from Old Norse “rand” meaning “rim of a shield”, the dictionary definition of Randy along with the colloquial meaning of his surname, Johnson, means that he holds the unique title of being the only baseball player whose name, surname and as you would later see, nickname, are double entendres. We will not explain that one to you as we think it best for you to figure that out yourself.

2. The Big Unit

This is perhaps the most famous of Johnson’s nicknames. “The Big Unit” is a nickname given to Johnson due to an incident in 1988. During batting practice with his team, the Montreal Expos, Johnson, who is 6ft. 10 in (2.08m), collided head-first with outfielder Tim Raines, prompting his teammate to exclaim, “Damn! You’re a big unit!” The nickname has stayed with him for life. The Big Unit nickname also carries an innuendo which is all we can reveal.

3. The Big Redneck

A standout physical feature for Johnson outside of his appearance was his hairstyle, a curly mullet. ESPN once referred to it as “the worst hairstyle in baseball history.” Johnson, however, remained unbothered by it. In fact, he said: “I was actually a trendsetter. I think a lot of people started a mullet after I had one.” He continued, “It was kind of my trademark. Time moves on and you get a little older and you realize your hair is getting gray and it’s not there where it used to be. So you start cutting it and coloring it because it’s getting gray.”

However, not everyone agrees. According to Kidzworld: “A better nickname [for Johnson] would be: The Big Redneck. Sure, he can pitch but with his bad mullet haircut, Randy Johnson looks like a total redneck. He’s a big skid who’s just lucky he knows how to pitch.”

4. Big Baby

The Gothamist coined a nickname for Johnson, “The Big Baby.” This wasn’t given as a term of affection but rather, according to the blog, because Johnson appeared to be surly and a crybaby over what he described as unfair coverage of him by the New York media.

As was reported by the Daily News, Johnson said: “The thing I got ticked about the most, is a lot of times in New York there were people who wrote (stuff) that never ever bothered to come in and introduce themselves.

“I thought it was funny when I was in New York and I wanted to pitch every fifth day my first year, that people said, ‘Why wouldn’t you want an extra day? You’re old,'” added Johnson, now 43. “See, there you go. I mean, sit down and talk to me.”

The Gothamist retorted by saying that if every athlete who plays in the city acted the way Johnson did, there would be no professional sports, noting that the player got paid big bucks and should stop whining like a baby.

5. Big Bird

One of Johnson’s monikers is “Big Bird,” which comes from his towering height. However, another possibility may have to do with a famous event in 2001 where Johnson hit a bird with his fastball while playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks, instantly shedding the hapless bird to shreds. It wasn’t all rosy for Johnson, who was faced with the threat of legal action from PETA.

“I was considered a bird killer, and they were actually considering filing charges on the bird’s behalf,” Johnson said. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

6. The Annotated Man

Esquire describes Johnson as “the annotated man” because of the many interesting footnotes concerning his life and career including the bird incident, the huge wages he earned as a professional where Johnson himself would admit that he was being overpaid, his unusual height for a pitcher and his dismal batting average, among others. There you have it.

Are there any other Randy Johnson nicknames we may have omitted? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo of author
Written By:
Last Updated:
Stephen Agwaibor is a writer, editor and journalist with an academic background in economics. His writing interests cover various topics, including science, politics, business and social commentary.
Learn more about our editorial guidelines.

Leave a Comment