The following quote by Hall of Fame Pitcher Nolan Ryan….after he completed his 7th no hitter at age 44 on May 1, 1991….with a 3 – 0 Texas Rangers victory against the Toronto Blue Jays…..while saying “I’m sure people find this hard to believe….but I’m not really numbers oriented.”…..which pretty much puts in a nutshell the “core grit” that Nolan Ryan possessed….which was the ingredient in Ryan’s talent pool which made him the greatest pitcher of all time…..as far as we are concerned here at ImaSportsphile.
MLB – 1966 To 1993 – Special – Highlights Of Hall Of Fame Pitcher Nolan Ryan Showing Off His Fastball
Nolan Ryan is the all-time MLB leader in no-hitters with seven (7)….which was three (3) more than any other pitcher in MLB history….as Sandy Koufax holds down 2nd place with 4….when he broke the MLB record for no hit games thrown with five (5) back on September 26, 1981….during his 17th season in MLB. In amazing fashion….he first broke his own MLB record some 9 years later at age 43 (that’s 301 in dog years folks….and that’s just more than even a normal Chiweenie can handle). The simple fact is that Nolan Ryan broke his own MLB record of 5 no hitters two times over….and that is nothing but awesome in the annals of Major League Baseball history. Throughout the course of 27 MLB seasons, Big Tex set 56 MLB records that still stand today….some 28 years after he retired….which is truly amazing.
MLB – 1985 – Special – Nolan Ryan’s Pitching Repertoire Featuring The 4-Seam Fastball + The 12 – 6 Curve + The Circle Change-Up
Can you imagine a power pitcher still throwing 95 – 97 mph for 9 complete innings….while striking out 16 batters….and not giving up one hit at age 44? Now that’s one hand that I just wouldn’t bite at all regardless of the situation…naaaaaahhhh…..but oh what a hand that would be to say that you got a nip on. Before Nolan Ryan came to the Texas Rangers….the biggest draw at their home park was “50 cent hot dog night”….and can you say happy Chiweenie? Almost any fan could get totally full for less than $5….but then arriving on the scene at Arlington Stadium to replace 50 cent dog night….here comes Big Tex….The Ryan Express….HEAT, Inc. (that’s what I call Nolan)….and he throws two no-hitters….gets his 300th win….and strikes out his 5,000 hitter in less than 5 years in Arlington. Little wonder they retired his number there too.
MLB – 1966 To 1993 – Special – Nolan Ryan’s Career Highlights
The no-hitter comes with an extraordinary set of circumstances….which includes the fact that at age 44, Ryan is the oldest pitcher to throw a no-hitter….as of course, he had already set that record when he pitched his no-hitter the year prior at 43, against the Oakland Athletics. He did it pitching on four days rest, which, at least statistically, is not the best time for him to make a start, Ryan was 6-7 with a 4.07 earned-run average pitching on four days rest last year…..plus, he did it with a stiff back, sore bones and a bloody right middle finger….as a result of his skin and scar tissue breaking open while warming up in the bullpen. “It was a downer of a day physically,” Ryan said. “A no-hitter was the furthest thing from my mind when I came to the ballpark.”
MLB – 1980 – Special Highlights – Astros Nolan Ryan Hits A 3-Run Home Run Verses The Dodgers
“He had one of his worst warm-ups ever in the bullpen,” Valentine said….as pitching coach Tom House told me his back was stiff, every bone was killing him, he feels like he’s getting old, so, don’t leave him out there too long. Valentine asked Ryan before the game if the back was a problem and was told it was a little stiff. He asked his pitcher how it would be once the game started. “He told me it would be history,” Valentine said…..and little did he know what he meant by history. His teammates knew something special was in the air after the second inning….when Ryan struck out the side in order, catching John Olerud, Mark Whiten and Glenallen Hill looking at strike-three curve balls….and that is when Rangers Steve Buechele came off the field after the second inning and told each of the other players that “all we need is one run” ….and shortstop Jeff Huson said. “We could tell he had his great stuff then. We just knew.”
MLB – 1995 – Special – Interview With Nolan Ryan & Pete Rose Featuring Big Tex Telling A Story Of Charlie Hustle Saluting Him And Shooting Him The Finger
“In the second inning, his curveball just jumped out of the woodwork,” Valentine said. “That’s as good a curve as he has had. He had an outstanding curve, an outstanding fastball, and he was hitting wonderful spots.” Ryan struck out 16, tying his own team record, and walked two, certainly one of the most overpowering no-hitters anybody has thrown….even though Ryan’s “best no-hitter” generally has been considered his second….when pitching for the California Angels against the Detroit Tigers in 1973, as he struck out 17 and walked four. “The key tonight was I had good command of all three of my pitches,” Ryan said. “I had a good fastball, and I was able to establish my changeup and curveball early, which is what we intended to do.”….and the truth is that the closest the Blue Jays came to a hit was Manny Lee’s blooper to short center in the fifth inning that Gary Pettis ran down and caught it at knee level. “I really felt it had a shot at falling in at first,” Ryan said. “But I knew we were playing him shallow, and if anybody can make that play coming on like that, the best is Gary Pettis.” Pettis said he thought, when the ball came off the bat, it was going to fall in because, “I was playing him shaded to left, and it was hit toward right. But I got a good jump on the ball.”
MLB – 1993 – Special Highlights – A Salute To Nolan Ryan On The Day His Elbow Injury Ended His Career
Toronto’s hardest-hit ball was Whiten’s line drive to lead off the eighth inning, but the ball headed straight toward right fielder Ruben Sierra for the out….for there were no other close calls from the team that entered the game leading the American League in team batting average and runs scored. “Anytime you face Nolan Ryan, two things can happen,” Toronto manager Cito Gaston said, “He can beat you or he can throw a no-hitter. The biggest thing you can do is prevent him from beating you, because you can’t do anything about tonight. He just had great stuff.” The Rangers got Ryan the runs he needed in the third against Toronto starter Jimmy Key….as Sierra belted a two-run homer, his third home run in the last two games. From then on, all attention was directed toward Ryan and his bid to add another chapter to an already lustrous legacy….and by the fourth inning, if not earlier, the crowd knew what was going on. “The great thing was the fans,” Gaston said. “They really started getting into it with each pitch, cheering with each strike and ooooohhhhhing with each ball. The crowd made it even more fun.” The frenzy reached its zenith in the ninth as Ryan retired Lee and Devon White on ground balls to second baseman Julio Franco. That brought up Roberto Alomar, son of former California Angels second baseman Sandy Alomar…..who once was a teammate off Ryan. “I’ve known him since he was 3,” Ryan said…..as he got ahead in the count with two fastballs….but Alomar, whose first major league hit was off Ryan…..fouled off two pitches and took two pitches for balls…..before whiffing at one final fastball…..and once again, Nolan Ryan had rewritten history.
MLB – 1999 – Special – Roy Firestone Up Close And Personal With HOF Nolan Ryan
On the night that Big Tex got his 7th no hitter….T. R Sullivan of the Ft Worth Star Telegram wrote the following story…..an article that is in the Star Telegram’s edition that historic day….of which that day’s paper is also in BD’s collection….as this article provides a really nice walk down memory lane and it went like this:
By: T.R. Sullivan…..Nolan Ryan continues to go where no man has gone before, throwing his seventh career no-hitter, three more than any other pitcher in baseball history. Ryan, extending a record he set almost 10 years ago, thrilled a crowd of 33,439 and a national television audience in Canada by holding the Toronto Blue Jays hitless in the Texas Rangers’ 3-0 victory last night at Arlington Stadium. That it came at Arlington Stadium, on Arlington Appreciation Night, made this no-hitter stand out from the others. “I’m glad I was able to throw it at home because of the way the fans have treated me since I’ve been here,” Ryan said. “The fans have really been supportive here; that’s what makes this one so special.” Afterward, manager Bobby Valentine broke out a bottle of Dom Perrignon given to him by former Rangers owner Brad Corbett on Opening Day 1986. Valentine had been saving it for a World Series celebration but couldn’t resist popping the cork and having his players drink a toast in Ryan’s honor. “This was too special not to,” Valentine said. “Plus, we drank a toast to October, too.”
MLB & News – May 1, 1991 – NBC News At 10pm Featuring The Last Two Outs Of Nolan Ryan’s 7th No Hitter
DOG ASIDE: Only a Sportsphile would know that Nolan Ryan struck out two Hall of Fame players….in order to set two of his greatest pitching accomplishments in his career….1st, by striking out A’s Rickey Henderson for his 5,000 strikeout when he was 43 yrs old….and 2nd when he struck out Roberto Alomar for the final out of his 7th No Hitter….at age 44, as evidenced by this post and these videos seen herewith. “Can you say “BRING THE HEAT” !!!!!
MLB – 1966 To 1993 – Special Film – “Feel The Heat” – In The Story Of Nolan Ryan