Did you know this fella, probably the best left-hander I ever saw pitch, inspired fans because he was 'white trash?' Go damn figure. Mike Seely says, give a guy a mullet, and he's trashy. OOOOOOkaay.
With Randy Johnson's retirement yesterday and Edgar Martinez's coming up well short in today's Hall-of-Fame balloting, it appears that it will be the former who will be the first player to have spent a critical portion of his career with the Mariners to enter Cooperstown. Whether Johnson will choose to be enshrined as a Mariner is somewhat uncertain, but we're betting the fact that he came into his own as a Mariner, won his first Cy Young Award in Seattle, and spent more time and earned more wins here than with any other club will end up tilting the windmills in our favor versus Arizona's (where he won four more Cy Youngs and his only World Series).
Johnson is generally regarded as the best left-handed power pitcher in the history of baseball. But what I'll remember him for is his singular appeal to what we'll politely refer to as baseball's black-and-blue-collar subset of fans, referred to in snottier circles as "white trash."
Baseball fans have long loved their chew-dipping, stubbly-faced, beer-drinking, Charlie Hustle honkies [emphasis mine]. Look no further than Pete Rose and the John Kruk/Lenny Dykstra-led Phillies teams of the early-'90s for evidence of this. But Johnson took that appeal to a deeper, dirtier level, especially when he played for the M's. Plenty of guys wore mullets and mustaches during Johnson's prime, but none combined the two with such extreme enthusiasm as Johnson. His mullet was curly, greasy, and unruly, and his 'stache seemed as though it was ripped off theMarlboro Man's face.
Son, I want to see you broach that trashy topic with the man in question. I urge you to. Since he's not in the Hall yet, he'll probably look at you like something he scraped off his shoe, and forget about, it as opposed to beating on your noggin, just a little. Which is what I might suggest if I were a chew-dippin' beer-slurping fan.