One of the most dominant and intimidating pitchers to ever take the mound, Nolan Ryan spent a Major League-record 27 seasons with the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers from 1966 to 1993. Nicknamed "The Ryan Express", the hard-throwing hurler regularly hit 100 miles per hour with his fastball, and is famous for holding the all-time career strikeout record (5,714), as well as pitching more no-hitters (7) than any other pitcher in history. Ryan was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 - his first year of eligibility - as he was named on an astounding 98.8% of the ballots; he fell only 6 votes short of a unanimous election, and remains second behind Tom Seaver for the highest voting percentage ever.
I completed these sketch cards in October 2012.
- In 1973, Ryan set his first major record when he struck out 383 batters in one season, beating Sandy Koufax's old mark by one.
- On April 27, 1983, Ryan would eclipse Walter Johnson's career strikeout record by collecting his 3,509th strikeout against Brad Mills of the Montreal Expos.
- Upon signing with the Texas Rangers before the 1989 season, he would become the first player to play for all four MLB original expansion teams (the Mets, Angels, Houston Colt .45s/ Astros and Washington Senators/Texas Rangers).
- On August 6, 1992, Ryan had the first and only ejection of his career when he was ejected after engaging in a shouting match with Oakland Athletics outfielder Willie Wilson with 2 outs in the 9th inning.
- Against the Oakland Athletics on August 22, 1989, Ryan struck out Rickey Henderson to become the only pitcher to record 5,000 career strikeouts.
- Ryan is currently the only major league baseball player to have his number retired by at least 3 different teams (the Angels, Astros, and Rangers).
- He was the final active player from the 1960s to retire from Major League Baseball, outlasting Carlton Fisk (the final active position player) by three months.
- In February 2008, Nolan Ryan was hired as president of the Rangers.
- Ryan played during the administrations of seven U.S. Presidents – Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Jr., Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton – equaling a 20th Century record that had been set by Jim Kaat.
- In 1995, the Texas State Legislature declared State Highway 288, which passes near Alvin, as the Nolan Ryan Expressway.