New York Nukes (1997-2005)
Inducted into Hall of Fame: 2013
The anchor of the New York Nukes rotation in their early glory days, Randy Johnson was one of the great starting pitchers during the first decade of the modern Weaver League. His 184 wins at the time he retired were fourth overall in Weaver League history, and were the most ever recorded by an Inferno League pitcher. The intimidating flamethrower was also one of only eight players with over 2000 strikeouts in his career.
In addition to his success in the regular season, Johnson was also a regular in the playoffs. Over the course of his career he racked up seven wins in the postseason, including two in the 1998 Weaver Series.
The Big Unit led the Inferno League in victories during his first Weaver League campaign in 1997, winning 25 games in leading the Nukes to their first postseason appearance. He won his one start in the ILCS as the Nukes swept the Honolulu Volcanos to advance to the Weaver Series against the Rio de Janerio Capybaras. He pitched well against Rio but was outmatched by Cy Young Award winner Walter Johnson in his two starts, and Rio went on to defeat the Nukes in six games.
Johnson and the Nukes didn't have to wait long to avenge their Weaver Series loss. The Nukes again advanced to the Weaver Series in 1998. Despite falling behind in the series 3-1, the Nukes rallied to force a decisive Game Seven. That game would prove to be the signature moment of Johnson's career as he came up huge, shutting out the Cigars through seven innings and picking up the win in the Nukes 8-0 Weaver Series clinching victory! He picked up two wins in the series, striking out eighteen in his three starts.
After being sidetracked by an injury in 1999, Johnson returned to form and averaged 22 wins and 275 strikeouts over the next six years of his career. Despite his continued excellence in the regular season the Nukes couldn't get back to the Weaver Series. Johnson had a final chance to pitch New York back into the Weaver Series in 2005, but despite the Nukes taking a 3-2 lead in the ILCS the Amity White Sharks defeated Johnson and the Nukes in Game 7 to advance. The Unit had a tough luck series. He gave up only two hits in eight innings in Game 4 before seeing the bullpen give the game to Amity in the ninth inning, and he gave up just one run and struck out nine in Game 7 but was defeated by a dominant one-hit performance from Ismael Valdes.
Although Johnson had one of his finest seasons during that 2005 campaign, he decided in the offseason that at the age of 40 he had accomplished everything he wanted to in the Weaver League, announcing his retirement. In 2013 he took his rightful spot among the all-time greats as the 11th member of the Weaver League Hall of Fame.