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PICTURE PERFECT PITCHER
Richard Hoffer
May 04, 1992
Randy Johnson, the Seattle Mariners' 6'10" southpaw, is one of baseball's most explosive—and eccentric—moundsmen
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May 04, 1992

Picture Perfect Pitcher

Randy Johnson, the Seattle Mariners' 6'10" southpaw, is one of baseball's most explosive—and eccentric—moundsmen

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There are his drums, which he is very comfortable behind. He plays along with his favorite groups—Metallica, Def Leppard—with more gusto than skill, he suspects. One of the welcome aspects of his celebrity is that he has made friends with some of his hard-rock heroes. He now knows Geddy Lee of Rush, Chris DeGarmo and Scott Rockenfield of Queensryche, has met the guys from Soundgarden. Johnson even played with some of the guys during sound checks. Surrounded by percussion, behind that big drum, those cymbals—does he look that tall?

Mostly there is his photography, which he practices with gusto and skill. There are the conventional sunset shots, which he collects during spring training in Arizona. But mostly there is his city photography, exposures born of a restless mind. Every city the Mariners go to he inspects through a lens. He finds strange sights: a compact car fitted neatly into a Dumpster, a boat docked in front of a no-parking sign. He finds street people, though he refuses to photograph them. That would be...impolite. Rather he would like to put enough of his photography together, a kind of nocturnal tour of major league cities, to make a calendar. He has vague notions that something is not right with society and thinks the proceeds from such a calendar would help. So he won't photograph a homeless person rummaging through the trash, but he would like to help him.

So think of that, too, if you stumble into this apparition some scary morning. And be patient as he squints through the lens, this big, tall guy. This guy who hears voices in the back of his head, who skulks through life an imagined target of ridicule, who because of his strange gift must stand on a little hill, apart from his friends, in front of 57,000 curious and gawking people. Hidden behind his camera, he's looking at you.

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