did randy johnson hit a bird

Its not often a spring training game goes down as one of most memorable games in MLB history, but 21 years ago, Randy Johnson gave one of the most infamous moments when his pitch didnt make it to home plate Instead, it hit a bird.

A Hall of Famer who won 303 games in 22 seasons, Johnson was pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 24, 2001, in a spring training game against the San Francisco Giants in Tucson, Arizona.

The left-handed Johnson was set to throw a pitch in the 7th inning when a bird flew in. The ball hit the bird as it flew in front of home plate.

Twenty-one years later, the pitch still lives in infamy, but not many know what happened after the incident. Heres what we know about the pitch that didnt count.

What did they do with the bird?

Giants second baseman Jeff Kent went onto the field, picked up the bird with his bare hands, and grinned while pointing it toward Johnson once the players realized what had happened. After he returned it to the dugout, what transpired is unknown.

The feathers on the field were then picked up and cleaned up by a member of the grounds crew.

Was it a strike?

The pitch was neither a strike nor a ball.

The umpire crew decided to call it a no-pitch because the animal didn’t reach the plate, effectively meaning the pitch never statistically happened. There is no rule that specifies what happens if an animal happens to get in the way of a pitch.

Nevertheless, there was a lot of discussion about the incident on social media. Some fans claimed that Gallen, 27, is the heir apparent to Johnson’s position as the legendary Diamondbacks ace. Others drew attention to the fact that Johnson’s bird incident came before the greatest season ever for the team, which culminated in a 2001 World Series championship. That year, Johnson also took home the National League Cy Young Award. ADVERTISEMENT.

In an off-day pitching session prior to the D-Backs game against the Athletics in Oakland on Wednesday, Arizona’s top pitcher Zac Gallen did something remarkably similar, more than 22 years after Hall of Famer Randy Johnson inadvertently hit and killed a bird with a fastball during a 2001 Spring Training game.

Gallen is currently 6-1 over 57 in 2023, continuing his impressive season. 1 innings across nine starts with a 2. 35 ERA, 70 strikeouts and eight walks. He is one of the faces of a youthful Diamondbacks core that hopes to contend in the NL West against the highly skilled Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

The pitch’s trajectory was changed when cameras captured Gallen hitting a bird with what the broadcast crew described as a curveball. This bird appeared to have a more tranquil demise than Johnson’s victim, which perished in a burst of feathers, as it just plummeted to the ground close to the Oakland Coliseum’s right-field foul line.


What were the odds of Randy Johnson hitting a bird?

Mike Swanson, the Diamondbacks PR director at the time of Johnson’s incident — which had one-in-13 million odds of occurring according to one calculation — previously told The Athletic: “I can’t say I saw the bird, but I saw this image coming from our dugout.

Has a pitcher ever hit a bird?

Over 22 years after Hall of Famer Randy Johnson accidentally hit and killed a bird with a fastball during a 2001 Spring Training game, current Arizona ace Zac Gallen did something very similar during an off-day pitching session before the D-Backs’ game against the Athletics in Oakland on Wednesday.

What MLB pitcher accidentally hits and kills bird with throw in pregame warm ups?

While warming up in the outfield before Arizona’s game at Oakland on Wednesday, Gallen threw a curveball that hit a bird in midflight, apparently killing the animal. The incident happened on the anniversary of Johnson pitching a perfect game for Arizona against the Atlanta Braves in 2004.

What happens if a pitch hits a bird?

Definitions of Terms: If a batted or thrown ball strikes a bird in flight or other animal on the playing field, the ball is considered alive and in play, the same as if it had not touched the bird or animal.