On September 9, 2002 — On the eve of his 39th birthday, Randy Johnson was no aging pitcher. Pitcher for the ages is more like it.

For the fifth straight season, Diamondback southpaw Randy Johnson records 300 strikeouts, breaking his own record of four consecutive years. The feat also ties the ‘Big Unit’ with Nolan Ryan, having a total of six 300 strikeout seasons.

”That’s pretty special,” he said of reaching 300 again. ”Nobody else has done that in the history of the game.”

Johnson, who moved into fourth on the career strikeout list in his previous start, already held the major league record of four consecutive 300-strikeout seasons. His fourth 300-strikeout season in a row with Arizona set a record for National League pitchers.

”I don’t feel like I’m 39,” he said. ”I feel like I still have a lot to give to this team.”

”I’m having my best years now, probably near the latter part of my career, and I take a great deal of pride in that, just like he did,” Johnson said. ”His work ethic is what allowed him to do what he did so well. That’s one thing that we have in common.”

Still, Johnson said he doesn’t intend to stay around as long as Ryan did.

”When he was 45 or 46, he was still winning ballgames and striking people out,” Johnson said. ”When I’m 46, I’ll be on the golf course.”

Johnson reached No. 300 with his seventh and final strikeout of the night, getting Gene Kingsale looking to start the seventh.


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