The Nolan Ryan Express | The Nolan Ryan Story | smackbomb.com/nolanryan

The Nolan Ryan Express -- smackbomb.com/nolanryan

The Nolan Ryan Story

Lynn Nolan Ryan, Jr. was born January 31, 1947, in Refugio, Texas; the youngest of six. He grew up playing Little League baseball, his father coaching, and later played in high school. It was there that a Mets scout saw him and signed him to play rookie ball in Virginia.

Nolan's flaming fastball caused many problems when he pitched; namely lack of control and painful blisters on his fingers which caused him to be skipped in the Mets' rotation. Soaking his fingers in pickle brine helped the blisters, carefulness helped the loss of control.

His first claim to fame was earning a save in the 1969 World Series, game 3, which the Mets eventually won. However the lack of control and too many walks led him to be traded to the California Angels in 1970 along with 3 other players for Jim Fregrosi.

Nolan's tenure with the Angels caused him to shine. he set the single-season strikeout record in 1973 with 383 and threw 4 no-hitters. Unfortunately the Angels were an incredibly mediocre team. In 1980, Nolan packed his bags to go back home to Texas, where he signed baseball's first $1 million contract with the Houston Astros.

Ryan kept it going in Houston, consistantly striking out 200+ batters and throwing his record 5th no-hitter in 1981. In 1987 he led the league in earned run average. Then in 1992 Nolan was asked to take a pay cut. His response -- sign with the Texas Rangers to put the perfect end to his amazing career.

With the Rangers, Nolan earned his 300th win, his 5000th strikeout, and no-hitters 6 and 7 -- all of which were unthinkable, especially for a man of his age. The 1992 season was full of injuries, as was 1993, and Ryan retired after playing for 27 years.

Nolan was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999, his first year of eligibility, along with fellow first-timers George Brett and Robin Yount. His uniform numbers have already been retired by the Astros and Rangers (#34) and the Angels (#30). He has been elected to the California Angels Hall of Fame.

Pictures click on the thumbnail to view full size

[Career Statistics] [The New York Mets Years] [The California Angels Years] [The Houston Astros Years] [The Texas Rangers Years] [7 Career No-Hitters] [5,714 Career Strikeouts] [Records] [Achievements] [Cooperstown Class Of 1999] [Nolan Ryan Baseball Cards] [Quotes] [The Nolan Ryan Story] [Miscellaneous Features] [Books, Videos, & Collectibles]

Click here to return to the index