Randy Johnson is a Hall of Famer and a notorious bird killer. Before he was delivering fastballs to the likes of Damian Miller and John Flaherty in the Majors, Johnson's catcher at USC was current Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio.
In a new look at the Raiders' possible move to Las Vegas, Sports Illustrated's Austin Murphy spoke to Del Rio, who recounted an unforgettable moment with the five-time Cy Young Award winner.
As a catcher he backstopped the fireballing future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson. During one memorable game at UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium, Del Rio recalls, Johnson “crossed me up. I call curveball, he throws fastball, and I take one in the cup. Shatters it.”
After writhing on the ground—“I’m in agony, sweat’s pouring off me, their fans are razzin’ me”—he rose and stayed in the game.
You can read Murphy's story in its entirety here.
Del Rio has four children. Johnson nearly could've changed that.