Cubs: This legendary pitcher always had the North Siders’ number

Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw /Allsport
Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw /Allsport /

Want to talk about a single athlete “owning” a team? Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson certainly owned the Chicago Cubs in his career. Johnson pitched 22 years in the majors, posting a 3.29 ERA, 3.19 FIP, 1.17 WHIP, 4,875 strikeouts and 110.4 fWAR in 4,135.1 innings. He is one of the most dominant and intimidating pitchers in the history of baseball.

“The Big Unit” faced the Cubs 15 times (14 starts) in his career and never once took a loss. In terms of record, he was 13-0 with two no-decisions. His longtime National League team, the Diamondbacks, was the only other team he posted a 1.000% winning percentage against. Though he only pitched in four games against them. Even if a pitcher’s record does not always indicate how well a pitcher performed in a given game(s), the in-game numbers speak for themselves.

Randy Johnson’s dominance of the Cubs was otherworldly

Johnson posted his second-lowest ERA (1.91) vs. an opponent against the Cubs, with only the Reds being lower (1.51). The Cubs batted .186/.265/.267 with four home runs, 33 walks and struck out 143 times against Johnson. Of the 413 Cub batters to face Johnson, only 69 hits and four home runs were hit against him. His K/9 against the Cubs (12.4) is third-highest against any opponent behind the Reds and Braves.

It’s no surprise that most of these losses against Johnson took place when he was wearing an Arizona Diamondbacks uniform. Eleven times, he faced the North Siders in a Diamondbacks uniform, twice his rookie year as an Expo, once as an Astro and once as a Giant. Never did he face them in inter-league play. While he was a member of the 2007 Diamondbacks, he did not pitch against the Cubs in the NLDS.

It is worth noting that Johnson only pitched five times in his career at Wrigley Field. He gave up four earned runs, equating to a 1.00 ERA. In those five games and the Cubs could only hit .160/.266/.216.

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Luckily for the Cubs, Unit was only playing in the division opponent briefly when he was an Expo in 1988 and as an Astro in 1998. Having to face him on a regular basis would have been a nightmare.