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Home with Randy

The Big Unit's Big Passion for Travel and Photography

Dubbed “The Big Unit,” Randy Johnson consistently threw pitches exceeding 100 mph. The 2001 World Series winner and infamous Diamondback has solidified his place in baseball history, but his talents go beyond the field. 

Johnson’s true love is photography, and we scored an exclusive interview at home with Randy, walking the halls of his house lined with pictures so dear to his heart.

First and foremost, how did it feel watching your Diamondbacks in the World Series?

I got to bring my son to the game, and we were just hanging father-and-son, the way it should be. There are bright things ahead for the Diamondbacks. It’s a young, talented team.

As a kid, did you always want to play pro ball?

My idol was left-handed pitcher Vida Blue. When I was young, I would tape a target to our garage, grab a tennis ball and glove, and throw the ball at my imaginary strike zone. I’d pretend to be Blue, doing his big-high-leg-kick.

I remember playing Little League and it was League Day where we got to walk the field. Having grown up in the Bay Area, I strolled the field of the Oakland Coliseum thinking it would be so cool to play pro.

This memory came full circle when I was, in fact, playing pro with the Seattle Mariners. One day we were up against the A’s in Oakland and I recall warming up before the game. Suddenly, I saw many kids walk by me, and it just so happened to be League Day. I watched as the kids paraded the field with big dreams, the same way I once did... and in the same place. Probably the best moment of my baseball career.

Tell us about your time at USC. 

I went there on a baseball scholarship and studied photojournalism. I worked for the Daily Trojan, the college newspaper.

Following your baseball retirement, you revisited your love for photography. Since then, you’ve become an avid photographer, traveling the world, and exercising your photographic passion. What are some memorable moments behind the camera?

I loved shooting in Ethiopia, staying in a tent and immersing myself in the peoples’ way of life. Like them, I bathed in the river. 

I took a photo of three men standing on rocks in the river holding guns (they’re always prepared in case of a threat). That's what photojournalism is; a picture that tells a story. And to tell their story visually, I got to experience it. It’s humbling.

I've also photographed concerts like Billy Joel and Elton John.

Johnson's travels have allowed him to photograph an array of wildlife like lions, gorillas, and his favorite- elephants. He went to a refuge in Kenya witnessing some of the biggest elephants in the world, scoring a fantastic photo of an egret perched on an elephant tusk with storm clouds in the background.

Johnson's Scottsdale Gallery Exhibit

Johnson says his photographic journey is life changing. Photography is his outlet, and he's thrilled to share his passion with the Valley. Located in The Center Space gallery at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, visit Johnson’s photography exhibition now through April 28th. Experience Johnson's travels through his esteemed photographs, getting an intimate taste of his talent behind the lens.

  • With one of his favorite photographs
  • With one of his favorite photographs
  • With his beloved chessboard gifted by a celebrity pal
  • Randy's Living Room
  • Randy Johnson Photography,
  • Randy Johnson Photography,
  • "The Big Unit," MATT YORK/AFP via Getty Images
  • With our magazine owner, Nadine Bubeck
  • Randy and his "Big Unit" burger available at Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers, Chase Field. Credit: AZ Diamondbacks
  • Photo Credit: Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Photo Credit: Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Photo Credit: Arizona Diamondbacks