Diamondbacks' Duo Johnson, Schilling Honored
Dec. 11, 2001
LOS ANGELES--Former USC pitcher Randy Johnson, the 2001 National League Cy Young Award winner who helped lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to their first World Series title, has been named Sports Illustrated's Co-Sportsman of the Year with teammate Curt Schilling.
The 6-10 lefthanded Johnson is the third Trojan to win Sports Illustrated's prestigious Sportsman of the Year honor, along with pitcher Tom Seaver in 1969 and home run slugger Mark McGwire in 1998.
Johnson's appearance on the cover of the Dec. 17, 2001 magazine marks the 85th time a Trojan has been on SI's cover (it's the fifth cover for Johnson).
Johnson, who won 16 games in his 3-year (1983-85) USC career, reached a career high in wins in the 2001 regular season with a 21-6 record and led the majors with a 2.49 ERA and 372 strikeouts, the third-most thrown in a season. He reached the 300-strikeout mark for the fourth consecutive year, a major league first, and climbed to ninth (3,412) on the all-time strikeout list.
Despite these stellar numbers, Johnson's 2-6 record from postseasons past left some wondering whether he could perform when it mattered most. But he finally got the monkey off his back in the NL Championship Series against Atlanta, going 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 19 strikeouts.
He and Schilling may have dealt some lethal blows in the first two rounds of the playoffs, but it was in a thrilling World Series against the defending champion New York Yankees that the most devastating one-two punch in baseball scored the knockout. After Schilling shut down the Bombers to get the Game 1 win, Johnson emerged as the D-Backs' dominator. With victories in Games 2, 6 and 7, the Big Unit became the first pitcher to secure three wins in the Fall Classic since Detroit's Mickey Lolich in 1968 and the first ever with five victories in a single postseason. With ERAs of 1.04 and 1.69, respectively, Johnson and Schilling were named co-World Series MVPs, only the second time in history the award has been split.
The pair also finished 1-2 in the NL Cy Young voting, the first time since 1956 starting pitchers from the same team have taken the top two spots. Receiving 30 of 32 first-place votes, Johnson won in a landslide to take the honor for the fourth time in his career and become only the second pitcher to win three consecutive Cy Youngs.