Randy Johnson's time with the Astros was fleeting, but that didn't matter.
The pitcher, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday, played only one of his 22 MLB seasons there. He spent most of his time with the Mariners and Diamondbacks.
But with the Astros, Johnson went 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 84 1/3 innings.
"Houston was the best two months of my career," the 6-10, 225-pound southpaw said in a Hall of Fame conference call last Thursday. "I never had two months like that, even in Arizona when I won four straight Cy Youngs [1999-2002]."
Johnson was 303-166 with a 3.29 ERA in his career, which included 10 All-Star Game selections, five Cy Young Awards and a 2001 World Series championship with Arizona.
"I really felt like towards the end of Seattle, Houston, and even when I was coming into Arizona I was really at that time in my career on top of my game," Johnson said.
"Confidence-wise, understanding the game, and understanding how hard I needed to work in the weight room to maintain my ability to go out there and throw the amount of pitches that I was throwing, and then be able to do it five days later."
Johnson said Kings Park native Craig Biggio, another Cooperstown inductee this year, was the first person to welcome him in Houston. He said Biggio "stepped forward" and offered help in getting around town. Johnson said he was impressed with Biggio on the field, too.
"He was just a player that I really admired because it was 110 percent for him every day," Johnson said. "He really struck me as a player that didn't take anything for granted, played today as if today could be his last game."Biggio, also in a Hall of Fame conference call last Thursday, said he and teammate Jeff Bagwell were in awe when Johnson came to the Astros from the Mariners.
"I was like, he's a rock star. I mean, he's Randy Johnson," Biggio said. "Baggy and I were both like little kids in a candy store because it was like we just saw Santa Claus.
"We really wanted to make him feel like he was at home, like he has been there all year. But it's hard to do. And I think Randy did the best job he could with it."