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Santa more popular than Randy Johnson at D-Backs holiday event

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Posted at 9:39 PM, Dec 14, 2021

PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks hosted their 11th annual holiday party for a Phoenix Boys and Girls Club on Tuesday with some of the club’s greatest arms in attendance.

For most of the kids at the Boys and Girls Club, Santa seemed to be more of the excitement rather than two former Diamondbacks pitchers helping them pick out Christmas gifts.

Underneath masks and towering above the kids were J.J. Putz and Hall of Famer Randy Johnson.

Thirteen-year-old Silvana Bojorquez, a ballplayer herself who loves to get the chance to pitch, got the priceless gift of talking balls and strikes, one-on-one, with “The Big Unit.”

“Wow, he’s tall,” said Bojorquez when asked what her first reaction was upon seeing Johnson at 6 feet 10 inches tall.

During their conversation, Johnson asked Bojorquez, "Do you throw over their head?" when she’s pitching to a catcher.

Bojorquez nodded yes.

Randy replied, "Me too haha! We have that in common," then gave her a high five.

Silvana is one of about 130 kids, ages 6 to 16, to get a holiday gift, a Chic-fil-A meal, a sweatshirt, and a picture with Santa.

When the holidays are over, the D-Back's Boys and Girls Club will continue to become a spot for kids to come after school to do homework, find a mentor or just stay safe.

"Our Santa Claus hears unbelievable wishes from the kids to be safe or to have a parent, so that's why tonight is so special,” said Debbie Castaldo with the Diamondbacks.

Although his days of striking out the side are behind him, Hall of Famer Randy Johnson doesn't shake off a pitch to give back to the Valley.

"These children are our future, these moments will be very impactful for them down the road,” said Johnson.

The moment “The Big Unit” spent with Bojorquez - could be a big moment that Silvana will remember forever and to pay it forward when she's older.

"He told me about coming back to the Boys and Girls Club one day, once I'm grown and older. It's growing as a better community every day,” said Bojorquez.