Randy Johnson faced the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on July 15, 2003.
It may be the most legendary game in the history of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
On July 15, 2003, Randy Johnson was assigned by the Arizona Diamondbacks to their California League affiliate, the Lancaster JetHawks, to make a rehab start. The JetHawks were in Rancho Cucamonga to play the Quakes.
Johnson’s opponent on the mound that night? Ervin Santana.
The Quakes won that night, 5-1. Johnson gave up five runs (four earned) on 11 hits in six innings with six strikeouts and no walks.
Several Quakes in the lineup that night will be in the lineup Thursday night when the Salt Lake Bees are in Tucson to face the Sidewinders, the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate. And once again, Randy Johnson will be on the mound.
Of course, Johnson took a side trip to the New York Yankees since the last encounter, and was traded back to Arizona last winter. But for several Bees, this will be another chance to test their mettle against a future Hall of Famer.
Jeff Mathis was the catcher that night. Mike Eylward was at first base. Nick Gorneault was in left field.
Missing the party this time will be Dallas McPherson, who homered off Johnson in his second at-bat. After singling off Randy in his third AB, in their fourth encounter he was nicked by the Unit with a fastball at the navel. Dallas took his base and promptly stole second.
If you have Windows Media Player and a fast Internet connection, click here to watch McPherson’s four at-bats against Johnson.
Dallas will be up the road in Tempe rehabbing after surgery to fix his bad back. He once told me (in jest) that he and Randy have "unfinished business," but it seems like every time there’s a chance they’ll cross paths again that one or the other has been on the DL.
But I’d pay serious money to see Dallas face Johnson one more time.
You’ll be able to listen to the game through the Bees webcast on the MinorLeagueBaseball.com web site at 6:30 PM PDT on Thursday.