The best medicine that 86-year-old Jimmie Reese could have gotten for his heart condition was the no-hitter thrown by his best friend in baseball, 43-year-old Nolan Ryan, Monday night in Oakland. . . .
“Boy, did it pump me up,” said the Angel coach the next morning at his Westwood home, where he is convalescing. “I was listening to our game on the radio when Al Conin said Nolan needed only two more outs for the no-hitter. I couldn’t believe it because Nolan called me the other day and said he didn’t know if he would even be able to pitch in Oakland because of his bad back.” . . .
Jimmie will be checking his mail closely the next couple of days. After Ryan pitched his fifth no-hitter in 1981, against the Dodgers, he sent Reese the game ball. . . .
It is a beautiful story, this enduring friendship between the oldest man to coach in the major leagues and the oldest man to pitch a no-hitter. They both came to the Angels in 1972. For the next eight seasons, they were virtually inseparable on trips, sitting next to each other on the team bus, going out for ice cream and always talking baseball. . . .
Ryan named his second son Nolan Reese Ryan after the former New York Yankee and St. Louis Cardinal infielder who once roomed with Babe Ruth and still can perform magic with a fungo bat. . . .
“Nolan takes tremendous care of his body,” said Reese when asked about Ryan’s secret. “He was born with good genes and he has an unusual arm. The amazing thing is that he’s still throwing so hard. His changeup is as fast as most pitchers’ fastballs. I’ve never seen anything quite like him. Oh, Lefty Grove could really fire. But he lost it later. Nolan hasn’t. And he’s the kindest, nicest, most generous person I’ve ever met. He doesn’t forget his friends.” . . .
Maybe the U.S. World Cup soccer team is just a bad road club. . . .
Marks Brothers: The Angels’ Mark Langston and Kansas City’s Mark Davis, the rich and famous free-agent signees, are a combined 5-9 this season. . . .
Look-alikes: Ron Howard and Terry Bradshaw. . . .
Lenny Dykstra batted .429 (42 for 98) during his 23-game hitting streak that ended Monday. Joe DiMaggio batted .408 (91 for 223) during his record 56-game streak in 1941. . . .
El Paso isn’t the only Texas League town where batters have been rewarded for hitting home runs. The oilman owner of the old Tulsa franchise used to hand out dollar bills as the player walked into the dugout after circling the bases. . . .
Best advice Nolan Ryan ever gave me was to eat vanilla ice cream with chili and beans to aid the digestive tract. . . .
The Yankees are doing Deion Sanders a disservice by keeping him in the major leagues when he isn’t ready. . . .
The Pittsburgh Penguins can go nowhere but up with Bob Johnson as coach and Scotty Bowman as director of player development. . . .
Steffi Graf, the former tennis machine, has more outside interests, and it’s beginning to show in her game. . . .
Sports Illustrated shot photos of USC sophomore quarterback Todd Marinovich at the Coliseum last week and plans to make him the cover boy of the college football preview issue. . . .
The Champs Beach Pole Vault, a brainchild of former UCLA vaulter Anthony Curran, will be held Sunday on the sand at Manhattan Beach. . . .
Now Los Angeles has two NBA coaches named Mike, both of whom owe a lot to Don Nelson. . . . I don’t envy new Celtic Coach Chris Ford. . . .
Former Clipper Coach Don Casey was among those auditioning for a spot on NBC’s pregame NBA show next season. . . .
There’s something wrong with the schedule when they’re still playing basketball during the U.S. Open. . . .
From Pat Riley in his 1988 book, “Showtime: Inside the Lakers’ Breakthrough Season”: “I once had a conversation with Jerry West about the ultimate contradiction of loyalty versus the team’s need to stay competitive. He said, ‘You know there might come a day when I have to fire you.’ Jerry was perfectly serious. He was my closest friend when we were teammates in the 1970s and is still among my best friends today. I told him, ‘That’s right. I understand that. And there might come a day when I decide to walk away from the team.’ He cracked a smile and said, ‘I never thought about it that way.’ ”