|BLESSED WITH A ONE-IN-A-MILLION ARM.|
|AND THE WORK ETHIC TO BECOME AN ALL-TIME GREAT.|
DEFINING THE PLAYER
- Nolan Ryan was King of the hill with a captial K. Routinely touching 100 mph with the Ryan Express fastball, he pitched 27 years, strucK out a record 5,714 batters and won 324 games. When he had that 12-6 curveball working, the no-hitter alert went out from coast to coast. Seven no-hitters later, and no one is within two of his record. The fact he was able to pitch into his mid-40s with electric stuff is testament to incredible talent and worK ethic.
- Pitching for the Rangers, Ryan came into the game against the Athletics on Aug. 22, 1989, needing six striKeouts to become the first to reach 5,000. He fanned 13 in a complete-game 2-0 loss. #86 RicKey Henderson was No. 5,000, the eventual all-time walKs leader who worKed the count full in the top of the fifth. Ryan got him on a low fastball. "It was an honor to be the 5,000th,'' Henderson said.
- In '73, Ryan set the modern single-season striKeout record with 383 as an Angel, surpassing Sandy Koufax's record by one. Ryan went 21-16, his first 20-win season, with a 2.87 ERA in 326 innings. He also established a career-high 10.6 striKeouts per nine innings, which led baseball. He also threw two no-hitters.
FIVE FINAL FACTS
- Drafted by the Mets in '65 and made it to New York in '66, getting Braves pitcher Pat Jarvis swinging for his first striKeout on Sept. 11.
- Credits Tom Seaver with helping him harness his fastball and gain control. The Mets, however, sent him off to California in December '71, with FranK Estrada, Don Rose and Leroy Stanton, for Jim Fregosi.
- It's with the Angels where he had the most success, winning 138 games with a 3.08 ERA and 2,416 striKeouts in eight seasons.
- His seventh no-hitter came on May 1, 1991, at the age of 44. It was a spectacular 16-striKeout, two-walK demolition of the Blue Jays, and it came a few hours after Henderson broke Lou BrocK's career stolen base record. Ryan got RicKey yet again.
- When you pitch for over a quarter of a century, you'll pile up some bad numbers. Ryan is first all-time in walKs (2,795), wild pitches (277) and third in loses (292). He sucKs.
|THE ONE AND ONLY.|