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Why Randy Johnson won't be remembered for his days with the Yankees

Johnson played for the Yankees from 2005-2006, but will he ever be thought of for his on-field endeavors with them?

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews is going against those looking at now Hall-of-Famer Randy Johnson as a "former Yankee."

Matthews gave his own take on the 51-year-old's short time with the team in an article published Tuesday, not speaking very highly of Johnson's two seasons in pinstripes. In his piece, he argued that Johnson's brief stint with the Yankees will be remembered more for how it started and ended "than anything that happened in between."

Matthews cited his own experiences covering the left-hander.

"My memories of him as a Yankee are murky at best," he wrote. "I think I covered just a handful of his starts as a columnist over two seasons, and I came away with the impression that he didn't like New York, didn't like being a Yankee, didn't like the glare of the spotlight and certainly didn't like the media."

Johnson and the media certainly didn't get off on the best foot when Johnson first arrived in the Big Apple, so that observation doesn't appear misguided. On his way to a physical to confirm his trade from the Diamondbacks to the Yankees in January of 2005, Johnson shoved a local cameraman shooting footage of him on the street. Johnson would apologize for the event later on, but nonetheless, it would never be forgotten.

Maybe that's part of the reason reporters like Matthews came away with such a bad impression of him, despite his good reputation with other cities.

"I never really got to know him, but what I did know of him, I didn't particularly like. And that is too bad, because guys who covered him in Seattle and Arizona tell me that deep down, he's really a pretty good guy. It's unfortunate that he chose not to show that side of himself during his time here."

Indeed, it probably was, but the Yankees can still be grateful he at least had one good year on the field for them. In 2005, Johnson went 17-8 with a 3.79 ERA for New York, the fifth highest win total of his career. He kept opponents to a mere .243 batting average that season, and recorded a 1.13 WHIP.