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L E’s Stories – Bigger Than Life And As Big As Texas – The Story Of Big Tex The Ryan Express Nolan Ryan

Being a part of baseball history while sharing it with your Dad that taught you the game along with your two brothers with whom you had played thousands of baseball and “whiffle ball” games…..it just doesn’t get any better than that….especially for a future Sportsphile…..cuz that is what our story is about today….a truly Heavenly Event for Bone Daddy.                     

On this day of August 22, 2008 in Major League Baseball history….future Hall Of Fame P Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers struck out A’s future Hall of Fame OF Rickey Henderson with a  97 mph fastball in the top of the 8th inning…..while recording his 5,000 strike out in the Major Leagues….after which Henderson was quoted as saying, “If you haven’t been struck out by Nolan Ryan….you’re nobody.”                                                                                                                              


MLB – August 22, 2008 – Highlights – Texas Rangers P Nolan Ryan                                                   Record 5,000 Strikeout Against A’s Rickey Henderson With 98 mph Fastball In 8th Inning

                                                                                                                                                                                      It was one of those undeniable hot August nights in Arlington, Texas….tipping the thermometer at around 101 degrees as the sun dipped below the horizon….you could see the heat waves rising from the ground….as nightfall descended on The Ballpark at Arlington….where there was an even greater heat wave of a distinct different nature emanating from around the pitchers mound towards home plate….as Nolan Ryan prepared to make history.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Bone Daddy had bought tickets for the A’s vs. Rangers home game for August 22, 2008 over a month in advance….as BD had calculated and assessed, and rather well I might say….that this was going to be the game that Big Tex….The Ryan Express ….HEAT Inc. (that’s what I called him)….when Rangers ace pitcher, Nolan Ryan, would toe the rubber in his regular rotation start with a chance to become the first pitcher in Major League history to record 5,000 career strikeouts…..which is a feat that would put his in “rareified air” in MLB history.                                                                                                                                                                     


MLB – 2010 – Special – Hall Of Fame P Nolan Ryan Throws Out 1st Pitch At Rangers                                                  Season Opener While Throwing A Bullet After Being Retired For 16 Years

                                                                                                                                                                                  On that particular night that Bone Daddy had selected to by tickets for….my entire HUMAN family…. including BD….his wife Neon….along with his sons Sinsae and Lightning….drove up to Ft. Worth on the afternoon of the game….picked up BD’s parents….Granny and Pops….at their house in Bedford (a suburb of Ft. Worth)….and headed for The Ballpark at Arlington….to see what they all hoped would be a historic night as the game unfolded.  To say everyone was excited would have been a huge understatement….cuz you see….everyone in BD’s family….especially the ones attending the game that night….were huge fans of Nolan Ryan….as he seemed to be bigger than life to each and everyone of them natural born Texans….just like Nolan was.  So, even if you really weren’t into baseball like BD was….the energy surrounding this particular night at The Ballpark was intoxicating and powerful.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             One thing I have learned over the years is that the first thing HUMANS do when they get to the ballpark iis to make a stop at the concession stand for hotdogs….sodas…. peanuts….and popcorn….and of all the choices at the concession counter….as the most popular by far was, and still is today, the hotdog….cuz it goes with baseball….like a horse and carriage…ooops I’m dating myself.  I mean, doesn’t the national car television commercial say….”Baseball….Hot Dogs…..Apple Pie….and Chevrolet”.  So….do I need to say duuuuhhhhh….cuz from what I hear all the boys say about going to the ballpark….is that there is just something special about a hot dog at a baseball game….it just tastes better. 

                                 MLB – August 22, 1989 – Highlights – Texas Ranger P Nolan Ryan                                                             Strikes Out A’s Rickey Henderson As Recorded By A Fan On Third Base Side

                                                                                                                                                                                      Now, I have always considered myself quite the “hot dog”….for after all we Chiweenie dogs a half Chihuahua and half Weenie Dog (Daschundt) so the thought of being plastered with mustard….pickle relish….and onions….just doesn’t sound very enticing…. at least not to a “hot dog” like me.  However, Bone Daddy has always assured me that those hotdogs consumed at ballparks all over America….are in no way comparable to me.  What a salesman….that silver tongued devil.

Anyway….with hot dogs….sodas….and peanuts in hand….my HUMAN gang headed for the left field bleachers….where six seats were anxiously awaiting their occupants for what they hoped would be a historic night in MLB.  As Pops, Granny,  Neon, Sinsae, Lightning and Bone Daddy took their seats….each one had their own reasons for anticipation that baseball history would be made that night.  It was just something special due to the fact that there was something exciting in the air that night….with a stadium that was packed to the gills with crazy zealous hometown fans of Big Tex / The Ryan Express  Nolan Ryan….as they seemed to be sure that their living legend was going to make history once again on that hot August night. What was great about watching Big Tex pitch on this particular night….was the way that he rode herd over all the area around the pitchers mound and home plate from the moment he toed the rubber….like a range cowboy rides herd over all his cows and all the other creatures that inhabit the wild west in Texas that night.                                                                                                                                               


Music & MLB – 1966 tO 1993 – Jerry Jeff Walker Sing Nolan Ryan (He’s A Hero To Us All)                                                                       Put To Photographs Throughout His Career

                                                                                                                                                                                The fact is that a critter just doesn’t enter Big Tex’s turf unless he is just plain crazy….just ask now Manager of the Chicago White Sox….Robin Ventura….who made the mistake of charging the mound after Ryan had delivered him a personal message served up on a 97mph platter….making sweet bow tie music….which caused Ventura to react instead of think….BIG MISTAKE….to which Nolan put Ventura into a “bull dogging hold”….as Nolan wrapped his big left arm around Ventura’s head and above his shoulders….a hold known by any real cowpoke in Texas….which Nolan just happened to be….cuz he had wrestled his fair share of steers in his day….and before you could say “Jimminie Cricket”….he had Rockin Robin in a headlock….and that’s is when his big right arm….the one that was able to throw 97mph HEAT in the 8th inning on a regular basis….as Big Tex began to pummel the poor guy with a barrage of upper cuts that would bring almost anyone or anything into submission.                                                                


MLB – 1993 – Special – ChiSox 3B Robin Ventura Charges 46 Yr Old Rangers P Nolan Ryan                                                                              Who Proceeds To Pummel Ventura

                                                                                                                                                                                  Big Tex was no doubt the Sheriff in town against the A’s that night….albeit entering the game he needed 9 strikeouts to reach the magical number of 5,000.  The Ryan Express was in complete control of his turf from the first pitch….and at 8:51pm…. in the top of the 8th inning….Nolan delivers his 93rd pitch with the count 3 – 2….as he hums a 97mph screamer to none other than future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson…. and to BD’s and his family’s liking….along with the rest of the 50,000+ fans in attendance….the most feared lead off hitter in the history of baseball….not to mention the all time steals leader….was reduced to ashes when Ryan’s heat passed home plate….to which Rickey with all the respect that this moment in history deserved….would  drop his bat where he stood….tipped his cap….while bowing to the Strikeout King….as the roar of the umpire announced history with a simple….”STEEEE….RIKE….THREE.”                        


MLB – August 22, 1989 – Texas Rangers P Nolan Ryan                                                                            Becomes The 1st And Only MLB Pitcher To Record 5,000 Strikeout                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It was a “strike three that was heard around the world”….a big swish by Rickey Henderson….and with the whole BD GANG in attendance….nothing could ever replace the experience of being a part of a 2 minute and 25 second standing ovation which ended promptly because the Sheriff….went back to work on his turf to resume what he was meant to do in his life….THROW HEAT.  He ended the night losing the game 2 – 0 while striking out 13….a fairly typical night for The Ryan Express….who had a long career of always keeping his team in any game he was on the mound….by pitching deep into a game….and giving his team a chance to win.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What a historic night for fans of Nolan Ryan….for Big Tex’s fans probably includes every baseball fan in the State of Texas…..as their home grown boy delivered nothing but heat to a future Hall of Famer….as another major milestone in MLB history was eclipsed.  Bone Daddy not only got to soak it all in….Ooooh that lucky Sportsphile….cuz he also got an autograph from Nolan Ryan on the ball that he had taken to the game as Ryan entered the dressing room thanks to Ranger batboy Mickey Leihmans, a long time friend of Bone Daddy.                                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                              Beyond the magnitude of this historic event as accomplished by one of the games all time greats, a first ballot Hall of Fame player….was the fact of going to the ballpark with Bone Daddy’s family….just makes memories that stretch as far as the history of that night takes them….and that’s a lifetime folks.  Remember, you might be a Sportsphile if you’ve got memories of a lifetime like BD’s too….and anyway….IF YOU AIN’T BEEN STRUCK OUT BY NOLAN RYAN…YOU’RE NOBODY”.

              MLB – September 17, 1993 – Texas Rangers P Nolan Ryan Records His Final Strikeout (5714)                                                                  In Game Against The California Angels

 

 

 

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