01/02/2003 6:00 pm ET
More hardware for the Big Unit
Johnson receives fourth Warren Spahn Award
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
Randy Johnson and Warren Spahn are left-handers forever linked by their pitching prowess and epic numbers. And for the fourth consecutive year, Johnson has been given the Warren Spahn Award by the Oklahoma Sports Museum as the best left-handed pitcher in baseball, this time for the 2002 season.
The Spahn honor matches the run of four straight National League Cy Young Awards Johnson has won since he joined the Diamondbacks as a free agent prior to the 1999 season.
Spahn, who moved for good as a young adult to Oklahoma and whose 363 wins are the most of any left-hander in Major League Baseball history, will present his namesake award to Johnson during a banquet on Jan. 16 at the Masonic Temple Convention Hall in Guthrie, Okla. The trophy is a 2-foot, 2-inch bronze statue depicting the now 81-year-old Hall of Famer in his signature high kick windup.
The 39-year-old Johnson has won five Cy Young Awards as the best pitcher in his respective league, incuding the 1995 Cy Young Award while pitching in the American League for the Seattle Mariners. Last season, Johnson's 24 victories, 2.32 ERA and 334 strikeouts were all MLB bests, pitching's version of the Triple Crown. He also won 11 of his last 12 starts and led the NL with eight complete games and 260 innings pitched. By winning 24 of his 29 decisions, Johnson posted a league-leading .862 winning percentage.
"The Oklahoma Sports Museum honors the best lefty in baseball each year. This year we are pleased to remind fans of the legendary accomplishments of Oklahoman Warren Spahn by honoring the most dominant pitcher in baseball,'' said Richard Hendricks, OSM president. "Spahn pitched some dominant World Series wins against the New York Yankees. Johnson pitched a dominant World Series in 2001 and won his first mythical pitching Triple Crown this past year.''
Spahn, pitching for the Milwaukee Braves, beat the Yankees three times during the 1957 and 1958 World Series. The 1957 World Series was won in seven games by the Braves. Johnson defeated the Yankees three times in the 2001 World Series also won by the Diamondbacks in seven games.
Spahn pitched 21 seasons -- 20 of them for the Boston/Milwaukee Braves -- and had a 363-245 record with 2,583 strikeouts and a 3.09 ERA. He split his last season pitching for the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants and retired in 1965.
Johnson has completed 15 seasons pitching for the Mariners, Diamondbacks, Houston Astros and Montreal Expos. His 224-106 record translates to a .679 winning percentage.
Johnson is in fourth place on the all-time strikeout list with 3,746. That ranks him second among left-handers, trailing only Steve Carlton who had 4,136. Johnson is one of only three MLB pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues. Last season, he tied Greg Maddux's record of winning four in a row.
Barry M. Bloom is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.