His name has appeared many times in the record books. He is first in the number of strikeouts he made in his career, 5,714. He only allowed 6.56 hits for every nine innings he pitched. That's the best. He pitched 5,386 innings in his career. He pitched 61 shutouts and had 324 wins in his career. He had seven no-hitter games. What pitcher was this good? His name is Nolan Ryan. His records are so outstanding that some of them may never be broken.
Nolan Ryan has been a Texan all of his life. He may have played for teams in other parts of the country, but his home has always been Texas. He was born in Refugio, Texas, on January 31, 1947. His family moved to a suburb of Houston called Alvin when Nolan was just six weeks old. Alvin has been his home ever since. He was drafted into the major leagues by the New York Mets right out of high school. He had a fastball in high school that convinced the scouts that this young man had a future in baseball.
You might think that this would be a dream come true for any young man. It wasn't that easy, though. Nolan struggled for a long time. He was drafted by the Mets in 1965, started playing in the major league in 1966, and was sent back to the minors almost immediately. His fastball might have been fast, but he was having a lot of trouble getting his pitches into the strike zone. By 1968, he had worked hard enough to be recalled by the Mets. His problems were still not over. The Mets had great pitchers like Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman already on the roster. Ryan would have to be spectacular to break into that lineup.