Mets pitchers who raked: Dae-Sung Koo against Randy Johnson in 2005
I’ve written about Dae-Sung Koo before in the context of “Mets players known for one particular game,” but his hit off of Randy Johnson in 2005 was so miraculous that it deserved another look here. That season, Johnson was steadily barreling towards a first ballot Hall of Fame induction in 2015. In 2005, Johnson was in the first of two years with the New York Yankees. Though he was on the downside of his career, he had a solid season in ’05 with a 17-8 record, 3.79 ERA, 1.126 WHIP, and 211 strikeouts in 225.2 innings pitched.
On the flip side, Koo took his second of two career major league at-bats that day against Johnson. In his previous at-bat, which occurred a few days prior, Koo stood a country mile from home plate and struck out looking on three pitches. The fact that he swung at all in his plate appearance against the 6’10” Johnson is, by itself, remarkable.
Koo’s unlikely hit off of a future Hall of Famer came in the bottom of the 7th inning, in front of a packed house of 55,800 fans at Shea Stadium. It was not just the only hit of his major league career, it was the only swing of his major league career and resulted in the only run he ever scored in the big leagues.
Furthermore, before that at-bat, Johnson had allowed just six extra-base hits to opposing pitchers in the first 17 years of his career. On that fateful May day, Koo became the second, and final, lefty pitcher to ever double off of Johnson.
Koo’s Mets career ended just a few weeks later, and consequently so did his MLB career. Johnson, meanwhile, struggled against the Mets, a team he had previously dominated, for the rest of his career. His last six starts against the Mets after that game were forgettable: 0-4 with a 7.90 ERA and an uncharacteristically high 1.75 WHIP.
That game did not derail the trajectory of Johnson’s Hall of Fame career, nor did it entrench Koo on the Mets roster for years to come. But it did create one of those classically unbelievable baseball moments that Flushing fans will always remember.