Saturday, May 23, 2015

#595 Nolan Ryan

Bring on the Heat....Von Ryan Express....So much can be said….A Texan with promise on the verge of becoming a Legend…After a mediocre 1971 and several unremarkable seasons before Mets were apparently tired of the promising but unfulfilled tag…Shipped to California with a group of players in deal for iconic but aging Jim Fergosi….Historic trade for Angels who were reeling from a tumultuous 1971....a major source of embarrassment for the Mets…Instant dividends for the Halos and a never before seen source fear for AL hitters…19 wins, league leading 329 K’s. 2.28 ERA (which was his full season career best)….follow up season was more impressive 21 wins and 383 strikeouts setting a modern day record that still stands…his punch out mark beat the next competitor by 130!…..had one more win reaching 22 in 1974…at this point when Ryan started opposing teams had to brace themselves for near total offensive failure and their only hope for victory was that Nolan’s wildness or Angel’s anemic bats would take Ryan out of game….various small injuries and the continuing Angels hitting woes took a bit of luster off the next few seasons but he continued with his strikeout mastery…Took the free agent route to his home state of Texas in 1980 landing with Astros….had a duration of nine seasons in Houston….did not win as much but still significant seasons…Most unusual was 1987, lead NL in strikeouts and ERA while having a 8-16 record…as in his Angels days a victim of no run support….one more season in Houston and another strikeout crown with a rather pedestrian 228 K’s (ho hum)….Took free agency road to the Rangers….his 16-10 record and 301 strikeouts represented an amazing rebound at age 42….won his 300th game in 1990 (in Milwaukee...still looking for my ticket stub)  and garnered his last of 12 times leading the league  in strikeouts….played two more campaigns finally starting to show age in 26th and 27th year ending in 1993.

Is over yet….Resounding NO…..Has the most career no hitters with seven….8 All stars appearances….even in his last season Ryan whipped youngster Robin Ventura in an on field fight, even more impressively stayed in the game, finished and won the game.…mysteriously never was a MVP or Cy Young award although he took over Cy’s all time record for most strikeouts…most bases on balls record too….HOF on first ballot…not bad for a 12th round pick in the 1965 draft….His career has been debated and discussed as to his method of longevity and whether many other hard throwing peers burned out their arms too early….Also an example of clean living and married to the same woman since 1968. 

Feel free to chime in but my hands are tired from typing.


1 comment:

  1. The Ryan Express, The Eighth Wonder of the World.