New York Mets
Nolan Ryan is number 7 in our Top 100 Angels 2020. The New York Mets drafted him out of high school in 1965 in the tenth round with the 295th pick overall. Ryan signed with the Mets and made his major league debut a year later in 1966. He pitched in two games that year and then missed most of 1967 due to illness, injury, and service in the Army Reserve. He pitched mostly in relief for the Mets from 1969 through 1971.
The Mets traded Nolan Ryan to the California Angels on December 10, 1971. With the Angels, he was finally able to pitch as a starter. He stayed in Anaheim for eight seasons during which he threw four no hitters. In 1973 he set a major league record when he struck out 383 batters. In all, he went 138-121 as an Angel with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. He issued 1,302 walks and struck out 2,416 batters in 2181 innings over 288 starts and 165 complete games. Nolan Ryan became a free agent after the 1979 season. The Angels retired his number (30) in 1992.
On November 19, 1979 he signed with the Houston Astros for four years at $4.5 Million. In Houston, he hit his first of two career home runs off of Don Sutton, recorded his 3,000th strikeout, and threw his fifth no hitter. In all, he stayed with Houston for nine seasons compiling a 106-94 record in 282 starts. His ERA was 3.13, his WHIP was 1.20, and he issued 796 walks while striking out 1,866 batters. The Astros retired his number (34) in 1996.
Later, as a member of the Texas Rangers, Nolan Ryan held his own in one of the most famous fights in baseball history. August 4, 1993 Robin Ventura charged the mound but soon regretted his decision. The benches cleared. Robin Ventura was ejected from the game. Nolan Ryan stayed in the game and eventually picked up the win. Nolan Ryan recorded his 300th win while with the Rangers as well as throwing his sixth and seventh no hitters. In his five years with the Rangers he went 51-39 with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. He issued 353 walks and struck out 939 batters over 129 starts. The Rangers retired his number (34) in 1996.
Nolan Ryan was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999. It was his first year of eligibility and he got 98.79% of the vote. He is also in the Angels Hall of Fame, the Astros Hall of Fame, and the Rangers Hall of Fame. An eight time All Star, he was a World Series champion in 1969 with the Mets. He has 5,714 career strikeouts to go with his seven no hitters.
Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.