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Nolan Ryan played professional baseball until age 46. He pitched 3,509th career strikeouts, becoming the first pitcher to surpass Walter Johnson's 1927 record.
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Nolan Ryan was born on January 31, 1947 in Refugio, Texas. With the Houston Astros, he pitched his 3,509th career strikeout, becoming the first pitcher to surpass Walter Johnson's 1927 record. Ryan holds the world record for pitching the fastest baseball, recorded at 100.9 miles per hour. In 1999, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
"I can honestly say it took two full years for me to get over the fact that I was no longer a baseball player."
"Everyone has limits. You just have to learn what your own limits are and deal with them accordingly."
Major League Baseball Pitcher, president and CEO of the Texas Rangers, rancher. Lynn Nolan Ryan, Jr. was born on January 31, 1947, in Refugio, Texas, to Lynn Nolan Ryan, Sr. and Martha Lee Hancock Ryan, and was the youngest of six children. Six weeks after Ryan’s birth, the family moved to Alvin, Texas. As a child, Ryan was known for his throwing arm and his keen sense of sight. He delivered "The Houston Post" with his father every morning, a job that required him to wake up at 1am.
Ryan joined the Alvin Little League Baseball when he was nine, pitching his first no-hitter a few years later, and making the All-Star team at ages 11 and 12. He played baseball for Coach Jim Watson at Alvin High School, and in 1963, New York Mets Scout Red Murff saw Ryan pitch and later reported to the Mets, "Has the best arm I've seen in my life."
In 1965, The New York Mets drafted Ryan in the eighth round. He began pitching in Marion, Virginia, in the Appalachian Rookie League. In 1966, he was called up to play two games with the Mets, and was the second-youngest player in the league. That year, he was also drafted by the military, and he completed his six-month Army Reserve obligation in 1967. He missed much of that season due to an elbow injury, pitching only seven innings for the Mets' minor league affiliate, the Jacksonville Suns.
Ryan pitched his first full season with the Mets in 1968, and led the Mets to a win against the Baltimore Orioles in the 1969 World Series—Ryan's only World Series appearance. The game was one of the greatest upsets in baseball history, as the Orioles had been projected to win. During that time, the nickname "the Ryan Express" was created by New York media, referencing the movie "Von Ryan's Express."
On December 10, 1971, Ryan was traded to the California Angels. As the team's starting pitcher, he led the American League with 320 strikeouts and nine shutouts. By 1973, he had pitched two no-hitters and set a new major league record for 383 strikeouts, beating Sandy Koufax's record by one.
In 1979, Ryan signed a contract with the Houston Astros for a record $1 million. With the Astros, he pitched his 3,509th career strikeout, becoming the first pitcher to surpass Walter Johnson's 1927 record. In 1989, he joined the Texas Rangers as a free agent, and in 1991, pitched his seventh and last no-hitter.
Ryan retired at age 46, with 5,714 strikeouts. He is the only player in Major League Baseball to have his uniform retired by three different teams, the Angels, the Astros and the Rangers. One of his highest honors is holding the world record for throwing the fastest baseball, which was recorded at 100.9 miles per hour. In 1999, Ryan was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
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