For 22 seasons, Randy Johnson terrorized hitters in Major League Baseball. He would have cast fear into the hearts of batters if only for his height (he stands at 6’10”), but he also had one of the most blistering fastballs in the game and a sharp slider. Over the course of his career with six different franchises (including the Expos, Mariners, Astros, Yankees, Giants and two stints with the Diamondbacks), he amassed 303 wins and 4,875 strikeouts (the second most of all time, behind Nolan Ryan). Johnson threw two no-hitters in his career, including one perfect game (one of only 20 in the history of Major League Baseball). He just retired from baseball this year, and when it comes time to add his name to the Hall of Fame ballot, he is assured entry into Cooperstown.
And with baseball behind him, Johnson has turned to his other love: photography.
“I studied photography in high school and studied it in college, and obviously with my baseball I wasn’t able to do a whole lot, but managed to still walk around and take pictures,” Johnson said. “Just kind of a hobby, really. Nothing serious. I have a lot more free time on my hands not playing baseball, and it’s a fun thing to do.”
Johnson grabbed the attention of the rock community when he was spotted at this year’s Lollapalooza, taking photographs of his friends in Soundgarden. “I’ve been friends with them since the Seattle days,” Johnson said of Soundgarden. “I shot them at Lollapalooza, and it was really enjoyable to do that. They posted some of my pictures on their Web site.”
Most recently, he broke the camera out for a Megadeth during an American Carnage tour stop (which also featured Slayer and Testament) in his native Phoenix. “I knew they were in town and asked a local concert promoter and knew somebody who worked with Slayer, so it worked out well,” he said. “I said hi to Dave [Mustaine] and he liked my photos, so he put a bunch of them up on his Web site.”
A lifelong music enthusiast, Johnson gravitated toward shooting bands because he is a fan, but he’s not attached to being a rock photographer. “Next month I may shoot some NASCAR,” he said. “Photography is a hobby, and whether I’m good, bad or indifferent, it’s a fun thing that gets me out of the house. I’ve got a lot of free time on my hands, so I like the opportunity to try new things.”
Check out some of Johnson’s shots of Megadeth playing at the Dodge Theater in Phoenix on August 27.