- Height: 6'2"
- Weight: 195 lbs.
- Date Of Birth: January 31, 1947
- Birthplace: Refugio, TX
- High School: Alvin, Texas
- College: Alvin Junior College
- MLB Debut: September 11, 1966
- Final Game: September 22, 1993
- Position: Starting pitcher
- Bats: Right
- Throws: Right
Born the youngest of six children, Nolan Ryan first developed his intimidating fastball at Alvin High School in Alvin, Texas. During this time, Ryan was also known for hitting and walking batters. This plagued him in high school and continued into his early major league career.
Ryan broke into the Big Leagues with the New York Mets in 1968. He pitched in New York for just over four up-and-down seasons. He was then traded to the California Angels, where he took off. Ryan won 19 games his first year with the Angels, then 21 and 22 the next two years. He left the Angels after eight years to return to his native Texas to pitch for the Houston Astros. He played there, continuing to strike fear in batters, for nine years. As a free agent in 1989, Ryan signed with the Texas Rangers and there he played the last five years of his career.
Even beyond the age of 40, he was getting the ball up to the 100-mph mark. Ryan’s career ended on September 22, 1993 when he tore a ligament in his arm. It is said that as he tried to play through the injury, Ryan threw one more pitch that, even with the torn ligament, was clocked at 98 mph. Spanning a record-setting 27 seasons, Ryan accumulated a mind-blowing 5,714 strikeouts, had six years with 300 strikeouts or more, blanked teams for a total of seven no-hitters, amassed 324 wins, and walked 2,795 batters. In contrast, Ryan also topped the all-time base on balls record for pitchers with 2,795 walks.
Career Highlights, Awards, and Accolades:
- Elected first ballot to the Hall of Fame in 1999 with over 98% of the vote
- All-time leader with 5,714 strikeouts
- All-time leader with seven no-hitters
- All-time single season strikeout total with 383
- All-time leader with 2,795 walks
- 324 career wins
- Eight-time MLB All-Star.
- Only player to have his number retired by three different teams:
- Elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team
- Six years with 300 or more strikeouts, including a record-setting 383 strikeouts in 1973
- Opposing hitters hit only .204 against him for his career
- His 5,000th strikeout, 300th win, and last two no-hitters came as a Texas Ranger, in his home state.
- Only pitcher to have struck out both Hank Aaron and Ken Griffey, Jr.
- Only pitcher to have struck out both Roger Maris and Mark McGwire