NOLAN RYAN, THE MAN

 

PROFILE,  HISTORY

FACTS,  CURRENT EVENTS

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Profile:
FULL NAME:  LYNN NOLAN RYAN, JR

PROFESSION: MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER 1967-1993

BORN: JANUARY 31, 1947

BIRTHPLACE: REFUGIO, TEXAS

HEIGHT: 6 FEET, 2 INCHES

WEIGHT: 175 POUNDS IN 1967, 212 POUNDS IN 1993

POSITION PLAYED: PITCHER

PITCHED: RIGHT

BATTED: RIGHT

CURRENT OCCUPATION: FARMER, RANCHER, BANKER, COMMERCIAL SPOKESMAN, TEXAS PARKS &WILDLIFE COMMISSIONER, BASEBALL TEAM OWNER.

HOBBIES:   HUNTING, FISHING.                                 

BUSINESS:  OWNS 3 CATTLE RANCHES IN CHINA GROVE, RAY, AND GONZALEZ, TEXAS.  OWNS AND SERVES AS CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF THE EXPRESS BANK WITH BRANCHES IN ALVIN AND DANBURY, TEXAS. OWNS THE BASS INN AND WATERFRONT STEAKHOUSE & GRILL NEAR CHOKE CANYON RESERVOIR.  OWNS TEXAS LEAGUE FARM CLUB IN ROUND ROCK, TX, THE "ROUND ROCK EXPRESS". 

POLITICS:  APPOINTED BY TEXAS GOVERNOR GEORGE BUSH TO A 6-YEAR TERM AS COMMISSIONER WITH THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION ON 2/24/95.  SERVED AS VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMISSION FROM 6/1/95 TO 8/28/97.                                                                    

BOARD OF DIRECTORS:  THE NOLAN RYAN FOUNDATION, THE JUSTIN COWBOY CRISIS FUND, TEXAS WATER FOUNDATION, NATURAL RESOURCES FOUNDATION OF TEXAS.                                                                            

TELEVISION:  HOSTS "NOLAN RYAN OUTDOORS" ON FOX SPORTS SOUTHWEST.                                                          

BOOKS:  2 AUTOBIOGRAPHIES- "THROWING HEAT", 1988 AND "MIRACLE MAN", 1992.  ALSO WROTE:  "KINGS OF THE HILL", 1992; "PITCHING AND HITTING", 1977; "THE PITCHER'S BIBLE", 1991.

CURRENT HOME: ALVIN, TEXAS                                      

FAMILY:  WIFE RUTH, MARRIED JUNE 26, 1967; SONS REID & REESE, DAUGHTER WENDY.


History:
    Nolan Ryan was born in Refugio, Texas. He was the sixth and final child of Lynn Nolan Ryan, Sr and Martha Lee Hancock Ryan. Six weeks after his birth, the family moved to Alvin, Texas.
    Young Nolan grew up on Dezso Drive as a small town kid in Alvin, Texas. He played Cowboys and Indians, rodeo, climbed trees, swung from ropes, and fished. He was known for his keen sense of sight. He dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.
    Nolan Ryan delivered "The Houston Post" with his father. The route was 55 miles long and took 4 hours to complete. Nolan woke up at 1am every day to learn the values of hard work and responsibility. 
    He played Little League Baseball and made the All-Star team at ages 11 and 12.  He enjoyed basketball and baseball in High School. In 1965, he was voted "Most Handsome" at Alvin High School.
    In 1963, New York Mets Scout Red Murff came to Clear Creek High School. "I was almost holding my breath", said Murff, "because I couldn't believe it." There he saw Alvin Sophomore Nolan Ryan pitch. Ryan's coach told Murff that some opponents refused to bat against him, and about the catcher's broken bones. Later, his report to the Mets stated "Has the best arm I've seen in my life."
    In 1965, The New York Mets drafted Nolan Ryan in the 8th round. He was the 295th player chosen. Ryan started pitching in Marion, Virginia, in the Appalachian Rookie League. In 1966, he graduated to Greenville, South Carolina, in the Single A Western Carolinas League. He was then promoted to Williamsport, and played 2 games with the New York Mets in 1966. He also studied at Alvin Community College that year.  He was drafted also by the military in 1966. 1967 was a big year for Nolan Ryan, as he completed his six-month Army Reserve obligation, pitched with the AAA Jacksonville Suns, and got married to Ruth Holdorff. He later said of his wife, "She deserves as much of the credit for my career as anyone."     

Baseball Chronology:   

1965  Signs professional contract with New York Mets.  Makes professional debut with Marion in the Appalachian League. 

1966  Named Western Carolinas pitcher of the year after posting 17-2 record at Greenville; strikes out 35 batters in 19 innings at Williamsport; makes major league debut against Atlanta Braves on September 11.  

1967  Sits out most of season with elbow injury; marries Ruth Holdorff on June 26.  

1968  Pitches first full season with the Mets, posting a 6-9 record.   

1969  Goes 6-3 in limited action with the Mets but wins a crucial game in the playoffs and earns a save in the World Series.  

1971  Mets trade Ryan to California Angels. 

1972  Ryan leads American League with 320 strikeouts and 9 shutouts and is named to the All-Star team.  

1973  Enjoys first 20-win season and pitches two no-hitters; ends season with 383 strikeouts, setting a new major league record. 

1974  Wins career-high 22 games; leads league with 367 strikeouts; pitches third and fourth no-hitters.  

  1979  Signs with the Houston Astros as free agent.  First player in history of major leagues to sign for $1,000,000. 

  1981  Pitches fifth career no-hitter, setting major league record.   1983  Records 3,509th career strikeout, breaking major league mark held by Walter Johnson.  

1985  Becomes first pitcher in history to record 4,000 strikeouts.  

1989  Joins Texas Rangers as a free agent; enjoys sixth 300-strikeout season and records 5,000th career strikeout. 

1990  Pitches sixth career no-hitter and wins 300th game.

1991  Notches seventh and last no-hitter. 

1992  California Angels retire Ryan's #30.   

1993  Pitches 27th and final season in the major leagues; retires with 5,714 strikeouts and 52 additional major league records. 

1996  Texas Rangers and Houston Astros retire Ryan's #34. 

1999  Elected into Baseball's Hall of Fame on January 5.  Nolan Ryan Center opens in Alvin, Texas on April 17.  Inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York on July 25, 1999.



Facts and Figures:

FOR STATISTICS AND 53 MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL RECORDS,  SEE  "ALL ABOUT NOLAN RYAN"  PAGE.

*Top 3 percentage vote Hall of Famers:  #1-Tom Seaver (1992-425 of 430 votes for 98.84%; #2-Nolan Ryan (1999-491 of 497 votes for 98.79%; #3-Ty Cobb (1936-222 of 226 votes for 98.23%).

*Nolan Ryan is the only player in Major League Baseball history to have his uniform retired by three different teams, the Angels, Astros, Rangers.

*Nolan Ryan compiled 53 MLB records during a career that lasted 27 seasons; threw 5,714 strikeouts, 7 no-hitters, and won 324 games.

*Nolan Ryan holds the Guinness Book of World Records for throwing the fastest baseball pitched at 100.9 miles per hour.  Rockwell scientists recorded it on August 20, 1974 against Bee Bee Richard of the Chicago White Sox on a 3-2 high fastball in the 9th inning.  The ball crossed home plate in 0.38 seconds.

*The nickname "the Ryan Express" was originated by the New York media.  While with the Mets, the movie "Von Ryan's Express" was a recent big hit.  The newspapers started this reference.  Nolan Ryan was flattered.

 


News and Current Events:

 

Bloomberg

Rangers Win Approval for Sale to Nolan Ryan Group

August 05, 2010, 5:34 PM EDT


By David McLaughlin and Thomas Korosec

(Updates with judge’s comments in fifth paragraph, Ryan partners in eighth paragraph.)

Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) -- The Texas Rangers won court approval for a sale of the baseball team to Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and others after a bidding war with Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stacey Jernigan approved the $593 million sale at a court hearing today following a 16-hour auction in a Fort Worth, Texas, courthouse that ended early this morning.

“It’s a relief to get it done,” Ryan said in an interview after the bidding. “This has been a saga that has just gone on and on.”

The Rangers’ sale is the second-highest for a baseball team, said Sal Galatioto, president of Galatioto Sports Partners LLC, which provides investment banking services to professional sports teams. Galatioto is a lender to the Rangers and is advising owner Tom Hicks on his planned sale of the Dallas Stars National Hockey League team. The $845 million sale of the Chicago Cubs last year was the highest for a baseball team, according to Galatioto.

Judge D. Michael Lynn, who oversees the Rangers’ bankruptcy case and left today’s hearing early to catch a plane, said the auction led to “a remarkable result.” He said he hopes the team, which is in first place in the American League West division, goes on to win the World Series.

‘Long, Hard Fight’

“I want to congratulate the purchaser of the Rangers,” he said. “It was a long, hard fight.”

The Rangers went on the auction block despite an initial plan to sell the team to Ryan and his partner, attorney Chuck Greenberg, without competitive bidding. The Rangers reversed course when their chief restructuring officer, appointed by the bankruptcy court to evaluate the sale, pushed for an auction.

The ownership group, Greenberg said, is made up of 18 partners and includes Bob Simpson, chairman of XTO Energy Inc., and Ray C. Davis, a director at Energy Transfer Partners LP, a Texas pipeline company.

The sale price approved today is about $100 million more than the team would have received under the original deal with the Greenberg-Ryan group, lawyers said in court today. It doesn’t include the sale of land around the team’s stadium in Arlington, Texas, which was part of the original agreement.

The team’s lenders, which provided $525 million in loans to Hicks’ holding company, opposed the first Greenberg-Ryan agreement. They claimed the Rangers and Major League Baseball were ignoring higher offers for the team, and they fought for an auction. The sale approved today will pay them $340 million, lawyers for the lenders said.

‘Everybody’s Happy’

“Everybody’s happy. The lenders got a lot of money,” Daniel Stewart, a lawyer for a group of senior lenders, said today.

Before the Greenberg-Ryan group can close the sale, 75 percent of Major League Baseball’s 30 team owners must approve the group as the new owner. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig endorsed a sale to Greenberg and Ryan before the Rangers’ bankruptcy filing. The owners are scheduled to vote on Aug. 12 in Minneapolis.

Greenberg said he hopes to take over the team that day. The Rangers would then play their first game under the new ownership on Aug. 13 when they begin a home stand against the Boston Red Sox.

Eve of Auction

On the eve of the auction, the Rangers’ senior lenders reached an agreement with the Greenberg-Ryan group that would have canceled the bidding and allowed the group to buy the team, according to Lynn and Louis Strubeck, an attorney for the team’s chief restructuring officer. Junior lenders opposed the settlement, and Lynn said the auction would go forward, the judge said.

“Yesterday was a little expensive,” Greenberg said in an interview. “It’s all part of the color and pageantry of the affair.”

The group won the auction with an offer of $385 million plus the assumption of $208 million in team liabilities. Shortly after the group made the bid at the auction, Cuban and his partner, Houston businessman Jim Crane, bowed out. The cash portion of their final bid was $390 million, which was adjusted downward to $373.2 million, mostly to account for a breakup fee that would have been paid to the Greenberg-Ryan group.

“We bid to the limit we planned to bid to,” Cuban said after the bidding.

When Clifton Jessup, an attorney for Cuban and Crane, congratulated Greenberg and Ryan on their high bid, observers in the near-capacity courtroom applauded and cheered.

After winning bidding, Greenberg said he went to celebrate with others at the Red Goose Saloon in downtown Fort Worth.

The case is In re Texas Rangers Baseball Partners, 10- 43400, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth).



08/02/2003 10:01 PM ET 

Four elected into Rangers' HOF


By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com

 

 

ARLINGTON --- Their nicknames alone -- The Express, Sunny, Charlie, and Johnny -- have long been the stuff of Lone Star legends and Texas baseball lore.

That's not going to change.

On Saturday, in a touching ceremony before the game, the names of Nolan Ryan, Jim Sundberg, Charles Hough and John Oates were officially cemented in Rangers' history -- and in bronze -- as they were inducted as the first class in the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame at The Ballpark in Arlington.

"If you think about it, we have a guy that played in the early 1970s and 1980s with Sundberg, we got Charlie who was here in the 1980s, Nolan Ryan who was here in 1989 to 1993, and Johnny Oates, who came in 1995 and took us into the 21st century," Rangers club president Michael Cramer said. "We covered almost every single year of Rangers' history and just by chance, which is cool."

The Hall of Fame was created to honor players, managers, coaches, executives and broadcasters for outstanding performance and service with the organization. The players were selected by fan voting. More than 75,000 votes were cast overall, with Ryan topping the voting.

A committee of local media members selected the names of the players for the fan ballot. Fans were asked to vote for up to three players for election. The other players on the fan ballot were (alphabetically): Buddy Bell, Jeff Burroughs, Will Clark, Mike Hargrove, Toby Harrah, Ferguson Jenkins, Al Oliver, Larry Parrish, Gaylord Perry, and John Wetteland. To be eligible for election to the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame, an individual must be retired as an active Major League player for a minimum of two seasons.

"I appreciate the Rangers for allowing me to finish my career here," Ryan said. "These were five of the best years of my career. I came here with the intent to play one year and we, as a family, liked it so much, we stayed for five. I appreciate the Rangers for giving me that opportunity."

Ryan ranks third on the Rangers' all-time list with 939 strikeouts, has the fourth lowest ERA with 3.43 and fourth highest winning percentage at .567. He pitched the final two of his seven no-hitters while with the Rangers and also recorded his 5,000th strikeout.

Sundberg was a Gold Glove winner from 1976-1981. He was selected Rangers Player of the Year in 1977.

"My family and I appreciate your support," Sundberg said. "I was not born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could."

The ceremony began with an introduction of former Rangers' players and a motorcade of four classic cars carrying the Rangers' legends entered from a gate in left field. Rangers radio announcer Eric Nadel served as the master of ceremonies and each of the men were given a bronze Texas Rangers Hall of Fame plaque. A larger version of the plaque hangs in the third base concourse.

"I was somewhat surprised by the larger number of former players and coaches that were here. That's really neat," said Hough, the club's all-time leader in both innings and wins. "It was pretty emotional. I'm the one who is going to fall apart, but it was emotional."

Oates, who was the Rangers manager from 1995-2001 while guiding Texas to three AL West Division titles in a four-year span, was the final member of the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame to be introduced. He walked with a cane to the podium and thanked former Rangers general manager Doug Melvin, Rangers owner Tom Hicks and Rangers VP of communications John Blake for all of their help. He specifically thanked the fans.

"Thank you, thank you," said Oates, who is currently battling a brain tumor. "It's a great honor to be here especially with this group of inductees. One big difference between them and myself is that they are here for what they did and I'm here because of what others did for me.

"For a fringe player to ride in here and get the reception I was given is quite an honor. We love you, we thank you and may God bless each and every one of you."

After the ceremony, the foursome were given their final standing ovation as the motorcade circled the warning track around the field. Every Rangers player either hugged or shook Oates' hand as he passed the dugout.

The former Rangers manager said he was overwhelmed by the event and joked that the walk from the classic car to the designated area on the field for the ceremony was a bit deceiving -- Hicks was helping Oates on his left side because he has the most trouble with his left leg and left arm.

"It looked terrible going up to the podium, but his foot was in the way," Oates said then laughed. "It was. He was right there under my foot with every step."

 

June 2003

Partners aim for a hit with baseball shuffle

Don Sanders, Nolan Ryan map out triple play with baseball team expansion, relocation and bank launch

Jim Greer

Houston Business Journal

Houston financier Don Sanders and Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan are broadening their business ties. They already hit a home run just outside Austin, where the Round Rock Express franchise they control has posted record attendance numbers for Double-A minor league baseball. Now, Sanders and the Ryan family are on the cusp of rolling their baseball business into a new Lone Star market. Corpus Christi is giving the Ryan- and Sanders-led ownership team $20 million to build a new stadium in that Texas coastal city. "We've just got to bring a ballclub in," says Sanders, 66.

Sanders, who co-founded Houston-based Sanders Morris Harris in 1987, says he and Ryan, 56, are on the verge of moving the Round Rock Express to Corpus Christi. That shift, notes Sanders, will free them up to buy a Triple-A minor league franchise for Round Rock. Currently, Ryan and Sanders are equal partners and majority owners of the enormously popular Express, the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. The duo's minor league team packed 11,522 fans into Round Rock's Dell Diamond for a game last weekend -- despite a capacity of only about 8,000 fixed seats at the stadium. And, unlike its championship status in the recent past, the Express these days is mired with the worst record in the Texas League.

But having proved he and Ryan can put unprecedented numbers of fans in the seats through thick and thin, Sanders says his publicly traded investment bank and securities firm could raise $12 million in equity to finance the purchase of a Triple-A team and provide initial working capital. He says the current owners of the Round Rock Express, primarily himself and the Ryan family, would together personally put capital of $2 million or $3 million into such a deal. Apparently playing in the early innings of their minor league baseball endeavors, Sanders and Ryan might even seek to push beyond a Round Rock-Corpus Christi double header. "I think that we could own, obviously, a Single-A team, and I think we could own other teams," Sanders says. "We'd consider any baseball team that legally fit what we can do and, secondly, made sense," adds Sanders. "We're not going to stretch ourselves, dollar-wise or management-wise."

For now, Sanders and the Ryan family are focusing on complementing their Double-A team with the purchase of a Triple-A franchise -- ideally, says Sanders, the New Orleans Zephyrs, another Astros affiliate.


Buying the Zephyrs and moving the franchise to Round Rock "would be awfully nice," says Sanders. But it remains to be seen if that will come to pass.

Another banking home run?

Meanwhile, Ryan and Sanders share more than a budding minor league baseball empire.  Sanders recently made what he calls "a major investment" in The Express Bank of Texas, a Ryan-inspired community bank that will soon open in Round Rock. It's an encore to The Express Bank, an institution in the Alvin area that Ryan controlled until its sale last year.

Ryan's new independent bank, which sits within perhaps 100 yards of Round Rock's Dell Diamond, raised initial capital of approximately $5.5 million. Reid Ryan, CEO and president of the Round Rock Express Baseball Club, says his younger brother, Reese Ryan, is chairman of the new bank. The Express Bank probably will open early next month, according to Reid Ryan, a 31-year-old partner in the bank. "Construction is finished," he says. Reese Ryan, who is in his mid-20s, also is chief financial officer of the baseball club. "You know what Reid has done with the ballclub," says Sanders. "And I think Reese is going to do every bit as well with the bank."

The young chairman will be surrounded with an experienced management team. Sanders says a major part of the new bank is CEO B.L. "Sonny" Corley, who was president of the bank that Ryan sold to First Community Bank last year. Corley's daughter, Melissa Pittman, will be president of the new bank. Steered by a board of directors that was dominated by the Ryan and Corley families, Alvin's Express Bank and its branch in nearby Danbury enjoyed strong asset growth under the team assembled by major league baseball's all-time strikeout king.

When Ryan named the bank, it is believed he insisted that "The" be included, since his baseball nickname was "The Express." Now the moniker has surfaced again on the Round Rock bank, which shares a logo design similar to the Express baseball team. "You'd like to think that the reputation we have and the way we run the ballclub will run over (into the bank)," says Sanders, who is a director of the new financial institution.

Brokerage, banks and baseball

His personal statistics make Sanders a natural in a triple-threat career he calls "brokerage business, banks, baseball." A former Astros minority owner whose interest in the major league franchise peaked at approximately 14 percent, Sanders is the largest individual shareholder in Sanders Morris Harris. His stake in the company that bears his name recently was worth roughly $22 million. Once a co-owner of the Fannin Bank, a former Houston community bank, Sanders controls the Round Rock Express with Ryan. Other owners of the ballclub include Reid Ryan, Reese Ryan, Express General Manager Jay Miller, and brothers Eddie Maloney and Con Maloney. In 1998, the Maloney brothers sold the then-Jackson Generals to Ryan's group, which renamed the franchise after moving it from Jackson, Miss.

Dell Diamond sits on Round Rock land that was once a cornfield. A field of dreams, as it turns out: The ballpark was built, and the fans came. In droves. The team in 2000 set a Double-A home attendance record with 660,110 fans. In the last three years, the Round Rock Express has averaged more than 9,300 fans per game. So the Austin suburb looms as an enticing market for Triple-A baseball, the highest level below the major leagues. If the Ryan-Sanders group pulls off the planned equity financing, Sanders says the $12 million or so would be used to purchase a Triple-A team, perhaps to pay down some debt and also to have "ample working capital" to make some upgrades and improvements. Those enhancements will include an expansion of the Round Rock stadium to about 10,000 seats.

The city of Round Rock has agreed to share expansion costs with the ballclub. Ryan's baseball relationship with Sanders dates back nearly a quarter of a century. A free-agent pitcher in his prime at the end of the 1970s, Ryan was then being courted by the Astros and various other major league teams. The majority owner of the Astros was -- as Sanders now describes him -- "the infamous John McMullen." Sanders recalls that McMullen correctly decided to take a lower-key approach toward wooing Ryan. So Ryan and his wife were invited to a casual luncheon at the Sanders residence.

"That would be much more impressive than taking him to River Oaks or Houston Country Club," explains Sanders. The strategy worked, along with an Astros compensation package that made Ryan the best-paid pitcher in baseball. Sanders and Ryan each have two sons. The boys became friends, and a familiar presence in the Astros clubhouse. Ryan spent most of the 1980s throwing smoke for the Astros, near his native Alvin. But McMullen, in an infamous decision, refused pay what was needed to re-sign Ryan. 

So the Ryan Express bolted to the Texas Rangers in Arlington, where he spent his final Hall of Fame-worthy years throwing no-hitters and breaking career strikeout records. By the time Ryan was shunned by Astros ownership, Sanders had already been bought out by McMullen. Sanders and McMullen had suffered their own falling-out after a power struggle between the New Jersey shipping magnate and minority Astros owners. "I was the largest minority owner of any (major league) baseball club," Sanders recalls of his highly profitable investment. His current baseball ownership gig also is proving to be a rewarding one. "If you spent a lifetime finding a perfect person to own a ballclub with, Nolan would be the one," Sanders says.

 

Ex-teammates wish Ryan well 

Pitcher's surgery surprises Rangers 

04/25/2000

By Todd Wills / Arlington Morning News 

Rafael Palmeiro is more than familiar with the strenuous workout regimen
of Nolan Ryan. That's why the Texas Rangers' first baseman was as
shocked as most baseball fans were after hearing Sunday of the Hall of
Fame pitcher's emergency heart surgery. 

Mr. Palmeiro, a team member during all five of Mr. Ryan's seasons from
1989 to 1993, remembers most of the veteran players shying away from
hard work when he arrived in Texas for his third big-league season. But
not Mr. Ryan, who is famous for riding an exercise bike for 20 minutes
immediately after throwing his record seventh no-hitter in 1991. 

"It's very surprising, as healthy as he is. It just shows it can happen to
anybody," Mr. Palmeiro said before Monday's game against the Boston
Red Sox. "Most veterans stayed away from all those tough workouts.
Nolan is one of a kind." 

Mr. Ryan, 53, was in stable condition Monday after undergoing two hours
of emergency double bypass heart surgery Sunday afternoon at the Austin
Heart Hospital. 

Mr. Ryan had severe blockage in his left coronary artery, which supplies
75 percent of the blood to the heart. An osteal lesion had developed
where the left coronary artery met the aorta, resulting in blockage that
ranged from 50 percent to 90 percent because of spasms in the artery. 

Complete blockages of other arteries are survivable, doctors said. But had
Mr. Ryan not headed to the hospital after suffering shortness of breath,
tingling in his arms and chest pains while walking around Dell Diamond in
Round Rock on Sunday, he might not have had a second chance. 

"You can have complete blockages of an artery, have a heart attack and
still survive it," said Dr. Thomas McMinn, the cardiologist at Heart
Hospital of Austin who discovered Ryan's blockage. "But not many people
survive a complete blockage where he had it because it simply supplies too
much blood to the rest of the heart." 

Blood tests and an electrocardiogram showed that Mr. Ryan did not have
a heart attack, officials said. 

At The Ballpark in Arlington, fans have a chance to sign 7-foot by 3-foot
get-well cards through Wednesday during the home series against the Red
Sox. 

"It seems to be something the fans really respond to," team spokesman
John Blake said. The team will send the cards to Mr. Ryan when he gets
out of the hospital in a week, Mr. Blake said. 

Mr. Blake said the team set up similar cards when Mr. Ryan retired from
the ballclub in 1993. 

Mr. Ryan and his wife, Ruth, were in the Austin suburb of Round Rock to
watch the Round Rock Express, a minor league baseball team owned by
Mr. Ryan, his son, Reid Ryan and Houston businessman Don Sanders. 

Mr. Ryan's heart disease was hereditary and had nothing to do with his
lifestyle, said Dr. Stephen Garland, a cardiologist at Heart Hospital of
Austin. 

"It's pretty hard to pick your parents," Dr. Garland said. 

Mr. Ryan's grandfather died of a heart attack in his 50s. His mother
suffered a stroke in her 50s before dying 20 years later. His brother, Bob
Ryan of San Antonio, also had a heart attack in his 50s. 

"He's signified and stood for defying youth," Reid Ryan said in Austin.
"When word got out, it was almost as if someone had brought kryptonite
to Superman." 

"That's what happens in life. At least they found it early," said Ivan
Rodriguez, who caught for Mr. Ryan in the All-Star catcher's major-league
debut in 1991. "I'm very sorry, and my heart is with his family. I'll pray for
him, and hopefully he will be well soon." 

Said Kenny Rogers, who also was a Ranger for all five of Mr. Ryan's
seasons: "He's a strong man, so nobody really could have expected this.
It's good to hear he's doing great and everything's going well." 

Mr. Ryan was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in January 1999. He holds or
shares 48 major league, American League or National League records. 

He is baseball's career leader in strikeouts with 5,714 and no-hitters with
seven. Ryan is tied for 11th place in career victories with Don Sutton, with
324. 

Mr. Ryan played in the major leagues for 27 seasons, which is more than
any other player. He played with the New York Mets, California Angels,
Houston Astros and Texas Rangers before retiring in 1993. 

Dr. Mark Felger said Mr. Ryan had a history of high cholesterol but added
that the other arteries in his heart looked perfect. 

"They look like his fastball down the middle," Dr. Felger said. "Smooth." 

Reese Ryan said that his father had continued to eat a high-protein diet that
included red meat - just as he did as a baseball player. Reese said his
father also was adamant about exercise, mostly riding a stationary bike,
walking with his wife and using weights. 

Reid Ryan said his father had undergone physical and stress testing every
year since leaving baseball. 

But Dr. Garland said such tests often don't reveal artery blockage. 

"Many of us are walking around with 35 percent blockage in an artery and
don't even know it," Dr. Garland said. "Tests may not show that, but the
blockage can worsen very quickly. Most heart-attack patients have never
experienced any chest pains before they are affected."

Dallas Morning News Staff Writer Chip Brown contributed to this
report.

Ryan, Brett, Yount Elected to Hall of Fame

By Richard Justice  1/6/99
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 6, 1999; Page D1

Nolan Ryan, George Brett and Robin Yount were swept into the Baseball Hall of Fame in record-setting balloting announced yesterday. Ryan received the second-highest percentage of votes in history and, with Brett
and Yount, gives the Hall of Fame three first-time nominees for only the second time in 64 years.

Not since 1936 – when Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson made up the original Hall of Fame class – were as many first-time nominees chosen. Since then, only 29 players have made the Hall of Fame in their first year on the ballot – never more than two in any single season.

Catcher Carlton Fisk fell just short in his first appearance on the ballot,
while Tony Perez fell well short in his eighth try.

To gain election, players must be named on 75 percent of the ballots cast
by 10-year members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
There were a record 497 ballots cast, and Ryan was named on a record
491, Brett 488 and Yount 385.

By being named on 98.79 percent of the ballots, Ryan fell one vote short
of beating former teammate Tom Seaver, who set a Hall of Fame record
by being named on 98.84 percent of the ballots in 1992. Brett was named
on 98.19 percent of the ballots, the fourth-highest total ever. Yount was
named on 77.46 percent, and Fisk fell 43 votes shy of the required 373.

"I'm honored," Ryan said in a conference call from his home in Alvin, Tex.
"It's a very special day. It's the highest honor you can receive. It's not
something you can anticipate, and when it does happen, it's
overwhelming."

Ryan broke or tied 53 major league records during his 27-year career
with the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros and Texas
Rangers. He threw a record seven no-hitters and is baseball's all-time
strikeout king with 5,714.

Ryan never won a Cy Young Award, and his 324-292 career record
gives him a .526 winning percentage – the lowest among baseball's
300-game winners. Still, his ability to dominate games and overpower
hitters made him a lock in his first appearance on the ballot.

"I never really viewed myself [as a Hall of Famer]," he said. "The type of
person I am, I deal with today and prepare for tomorrow. I'm not one to
reflect back on my career. I believe the last five years I spent with the
Texas Rangers brought a focus on my career to another level. They kind
of escalated me as far as visibility."

Hall of Fame final piece to Ryan's baseball puzzle

By T.R. Sullivan
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

When Nolan Ryan fanned Rickey Henderson for his 5,000th career strikeout, catcher Chad Kreuter jogged to the mound and handed him the baseball.

Ten years later, Ryan isn't really sure where that baseball is.

"If I had to lay my hands on it I guess I could," Ryan said. "But it would take a little research."

Memorabilia collectors would love to get their hands on that ball, but Ryan really isn't interested. The past holds little appeal to him.

"I've always been more concerned about the present and the future," Ryan said. "I tell people I didn't retire, I just changed jobs. The new ones just don't pay as well as the old one."

Ryan retired five years ago from his old job of major-league pitcher. He finds out Tuesday if he'll receive the ultimate reward for those 27 distinguished years of service: enshrinement in the Baseball
Hall of Fame.

"If that happens, it will be the final thing that wraps up my career," Ryan said. "Obviously it will be one of the greatest things that ever happened to me."

Ryan's credentials are familiar to those who watched his odyssey with the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astos and the Rangers. He is baseball's all-time record holder with 5,714 career strikeouts and seven no-hitters. His 324 career victories is tied for 12th all-time with
Don Sutton, already a member of the Hall of Fame.

This is Ryan's first year on the ballot, along with Royals third baseman George Brett, Brewers shortstop/outfielder Robin Yount, Red Sox/White Sox catcher Carlton Fisk and Braves outfielder Dale Murphy. It is one of the most prestigious first-year ballots ever presented to the baseball
writers.

Candidates must receive 75 percent of the total votes cast to receive induction. Last year, 473 writers voted. Ryan and Brett are considered the favorites for election this year.

"I guess it comes down to each individual who votes and what their criteria is," Ryan said. "You look at some of the people in the Hall and at their accomplishments and careers, I'd say yes. Then you look at other people who are held in high esteem and you feel you're not on a level at what they
accomplished."

The Hall of Fame does not judge in that regard. There are no gold, silver or platinum levels. Baseball's highest honor is a simple matter -- you're either in or you're not.

Ryan has been to Cooperstown twice, once while pitching with the California Angels and again a few years later with the Astros.

"I can remember walking through there and thinking what an honor it would be to be recognized with those fellows there," Ryan said.

But it was a rare thought. Ryan spends his time now running his bank and ranches, serving with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and buying a minor-league baseball team. He also does endorsements and remains devoted to his family.

He doesn't spend much time on the front-porch rocker, eagerly anticipating Induction Day in Cooperstown.

"It's probably one of those things, if it happens, as time goes on, it will become more special to you," Ryan said. "It's kind of like some of the things that happened in my career. The more time elapses, the more you appreciate how special those things are."

Ryan always said that while he was playing. But five years later, he is no more willing to reminisce than he was when he was wearing the uniform.

"A guy walked into my office at the bank and said he was really surprised there wasn't any baseball stuff in there," Ryan said. "I said I guess you're right.

"If you asked me to give you probably three special moments, obviously the 5,000th strikeout because there was a lot of electricity in the air and the fan involvement and the buildup, people getting so much involved. The seventh no-hitter I feel was there because it was a special night and
everything came together.

"Then there was the night Pete Rose tied the all-time National League hit record and the next three times I struck him out. It was an extremely difficult thing to do because he doesn't strike out much. After the last at-bat, he slammed his bat on the ground and broke it. Then as he got to the dugout, he turned around and saluted me. There were some moments like that."

Ryan, much like Mark McGwire in his pursuit of baseball's single-season home-run record, gets much more satisfaction talking to fans who watched him play and hearing what his accomplishments meant to them.

"I get a lot of people telling me: I appreciated your effort, and I got a lot of enjoyment out of watching you," Ryan said. "Those things are what make you feel good, that people appreciated your dedication and the way you conducted yourself, or something you did was memorable in their lives.
I get a lot of satisfaction out of that."

Much more than sitting around and looking at a baseball Rickey Henderson couldn't hit.

Nolan Ryan Stadium Plan Is Approved
(11/4/98)
ROUND ROCK, Texas (AP) - Voters in the Austin suburb of Round Rock overwhelmingly embraced the plan of pitching legend Nolan Ryan to bring in a minor league baseball team.

Voters authorized money from the city's hotel-motel tax to build a $13 million, 7,500-seat stadium that would house a Texas League baseball team now located in Jackson, Miss.

The Jackson Generals, a Double-A farm team of the Houston Astros, would become the Round Rock Express and play in the new stadium starting in 2000.

It would mean that Austin no longer would be the nation's largest metropolitan area without a professional baseball franchise.

Reid Ryan, son of the Hall-of-Fame bound pitcher who pitched for both the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros during his career, thanked voters at a post-election party Tuesday night.

``It's kind of like telling a girl you love her for the first time and having to wait for her to tell you she loves you back,'' he said. ``We said from the beginning that this was the place we wanted to be... We felt like we did things the right way, and the people saw this was a good deal for Round Rock.''

Ryan has one more hurdle to overcome before the deal is complete.

Don Hansen, president of the Texas Hotel-Motel Association, contends that hotel-motel taxes can be spent on a convention center, but not a stadium.

Round Rock Mayor Charlie Culpepper has said the complex would qualify because it would have about 6,000 square feet of convention center space. The stadium would also be used for meetings, trade shows and concerts, Culpepper said.