LIVERMORE — San Francisco Giants pitcher Randy Johnson isn't accustomed to having fastballs blown by him; let alone two thrown by a 5-year-old.
But the 6-foot-10 Livermore native deserves some slack, he isn't normally on the receiving end of pitches and it's a long way down for him to get into the catcher's position.
Evelyn Pizer also unloaded the first pitch before the Giants pitcher, nicknamed "The Big Unit," was ready.
The pitches ended a ceremony hosted by a number of sponsors to have a newly finished baseball field at May Nissen Park named in Johnson's honor.
And Johnson, 45, would not changed anything that happened Tuesday.
"Anybody should be flattered to have something named after them," said Johnson, a 1982 graduate of Livermore High School. "This doesn't compare with anything from a professional standpoint."
That is saying a lot coming from someone who has totaled the second highest career strikeouts (4,869) and is consider among the best pitchers to ever play.
The Giants Community Fund, Chevron, the Good Tidings Foundation and Johnson contributed more than $200,000 to upgrade the 58-year field across from Marylin Avenue Elementary School.
In a six-week period, dugouts, infield soil, irrigation, concrete work, a new backstop and four oak trees were installed for Tuesday's celebration.
The field is one of two in the East Bay built in conjunction with the Giants Community Fund and one of 17 in northern and central California.
The Junior Giants program is also sponsoring an ongoing baseball program for children in and around Marylin Avenue Elementary.
Pint-size pitcher Evelyn Pizer broke in the field in front of hundreds of Giants faithful, Livermore residents and members of Johnson's family on Tuesday. Evelyn even had the ball she blew by Johnson signed by the future hall of famer.
"Just throwing it hard comes up on her own," said Evelyn's dad John, who took no credit for teaching his daughter how to throw.
Johnson was 7 years old, just two years older than Evelyn, when he started playing baseball. He credited Livermore and his various coaches and residents in town for teaching him the game, up until he left for college at USC in the fall of 1982.
While Johnson didn't play baseball at May Nissen Park, he spent a great deal of time with his five older siblings at the park, participating in everything from soccer to swimming.
"It's awesome to see his name up there and to have him want to come back home and remember Livermore," said Keri Bilke, Johnson's niece who still lives in town. "It's almost surreal because he is my uncle, so I almost forget how big he is."
Robert Jordan covers Dublin and Pleasanton. Reach him at 925-847-2184.