Dan Patrick and Randy Johnson Photo Credit: The Dan Patrick Show

Randy Johnson racked up countless accolades during his 22-year MLB pitching career, but the pitch many fans remember most vividly is one that never reached home plate in a game that did not even count.

Dan Patrick mentioned how odd that was Thursday when Johnson appeared as a guest on the Dan Patrick Show. Then Patrick pressed Johnson for details on the infamous “bird incident.”

For those too young to remember, during a spring training game in 2001, Johnson, then with the Arizona Diamondbacks, threw a fastball that struck a dove.

The bird exploded in flight, meeting a gruesome ending.


Johnson said a special circumstance led to the incident being caught on video.

“The only reason it was even caught on camera is because our videographer had his little camcorder out in centerfield for the hitters and for me so I could watch my mechanics and the hitters could do the same,” Johnson said. “That’s the only reason that was even captured on video.”

Johnson has told the story of the incident many times through the years, and did it once more when Patrick asked his initial reaction.

“When I initially threw the pitch, I threw the pitch, I hit the bird and I was kind of stunned,” Johnson said. “I thought initially someone had maybe thrown something from a dugout or from the stands. … it all happened so fast.”

Patrick did make an excellent point, noting that incident, along with the classic confrontation where Johnson terrified John Kruk in the 1993 All-Star Game, have to some extent overshadowed Johnson’s incredible accomplishments on the field. His resumé includes five Cy Young Awards, 10 All-Star appearances, a World Series MVP, 303 career wins, a perfect game, 4,875 strikeouts, and more.

“It feels like because of all these things, we don’t focus on your career,” Patrick said.

“Dan, maybe one day you should have a Randy Johnson Day and just go through all my accomplishments and right the ship,” Johnson joked.

“This is it, Randy,” Patrick said. “This is the Randy Johnson Day.”

By the way, Johnson has found an interesting post-MLB career, working as a professional photographer. He’s also made peace with the avian world. He appears in a new DirecTV ad referencing that bird strike, playing off the company’s recent “For The Birds” ad campaign.

[The Dan Patrick Show]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.