After 5,668 strikeouts, seven no-hitters, 319 wins and more memories than anyone can count, Nolan Ryan heads into his final season at age 46. A look at Nolan, by the numbers, as he approaches the last windup:
0--Cy Young Awards he’s won. In 1987, he became the only NL pitcher to lead the league in ERA (2.76) and strikeouts (270) and not win the award, mostly because poor run support left him 8-16. Ryan’s wife, Ruth, was among those who complained in 1973 after Ryan finished second to Jim Palmer despite going 21-16 with a 2.87 ERA and a major league record 383 strikeouts.
1--World Series games he’s pitched. His only appearance came in relief during Game 3 in 1969 against Baltimore, and he earned a save for the New York Mets. Ryan pitched in three more playoffs, but never made it back to the World Series.
2--Home runs he’s hit. Though he connected off Don Sutton and Charlie Puleo, Ryan never was a good hitter. In 1988, he set an Astros’ record by going hitless in 42 straight at-bats.
3--Times he struck out Pat Jarvis. The former Atlanta pitcher was Ryan’s first strikeout victim, on Sept. 11, 1966.
4--Players, including Ryan, that California got from the Mets for Jim Fregosi in one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history. Ryan, pitcher Don Rose, catcher Francisco Estrada and outfielder Leroy Stanton went to the Angels in the deal Dec. 10, 1971.
5--No-hitters he’s lost in the ninth inning. All five were broken up with one out, and Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson, Dick Allen, Nelson Liriano and Dave Bergman got the hits. In those five games, Ryan wound up with just three victories, one loss and one no-decision.
6--Seasons he’s led the majors in wild pitches. He has thrown 274 wild pitches, one of the 52 major league records he owns or shares.
7--Old ballparks, no longer used, where he won games. Ryan won at Connie Mack Stadium, Jarry Park, Crosley Field, Metropolitan Stadium, Memorial Stadium, Exhibition Stadium and the old Comiskey Park. He also pitched at Forbes Field and Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium, but did not win. Overall, he has victories at 31 stadiums.
8--Grand slams he’s given up. The record is nine, held by Jerry Reuss, Milt Pappas and Ned Garver.
9--Pitches needed to strike out all three batters in an inning. Ryan has accomplished the feat twice.
10--Most walks he’s allowed in a game. He did it on April 5, 1974, against the Chicago White Sox, but won, 8-2.
11--Times he pitched a complete game and won 1-0. On Aug. 27, 1972, he went 12 innings and beat Cleveland 1-0.
12--Sets of brothers he has struck out. The list includes Felipe, Matty and Jesus Alou, Carlos and Lee May and George and Ken Brett. Ryan also has fanned seven father-and-son combinations, including Maury and Bump Wills, 21 Hall of Famers, including Eddie Mathews and Roberto Clemente, and 47 Most Valuable Player winners, including Roger Maris.
13--Times on the disabled list. Ryan might’ve needed more early in his career, but he discovered that dipping his pitching hand in pickle brine helped heal bad blisters.
14--Seasons with more than 200 strikeouts. He had more than 300 in six seasons.
15--Estimated number of current and former teammates who have named their children after Ryan.
16--Times he struck out Robin Yount, Pedro Guerrero, Bert Campaneris, George Scott, Gene Tenace and Alex Johnson, among others. Ryan’s top victim is Claudell Washington, who fanned 39 times.
17--Most strikeouts he’s had in a no-hitter. He fanned 17 Detroit Tigers on July 15, 1973, and was so overpowering that Norm Cash walked to the plate in the ninth inning with a thick, wooden table leg instead of a bat.
18--Most losses he’s had in one season. Ryan led the league in defeats when he went 17-18 for California in 1976.
19--Most strikeouts he’s had in a game. He did it four times, three in 1974 and once in 1977. He shared the major league record until Roger Clemens fanned 20.
20--Games he won in the minor leagues. He could’ve had another for Williamsport in 1966, but he was called up to the majors in the middle of the game. Ryan immediately left the ballpark in the sixth inning--with a no-hitter in progress.
Other notable numbers:
24--Victories against Kansas City. He’s beaten the Royals more than any other team, and seven of those wins came against Paul Splittorff, his top victim. In contrast, Ryan has started only five games lifetime at Yankee Stadium, a place he prefers not to pitch because of all the distractions.
27--Seasons he will have pitched in the majors, including 1993. Only one athlete has played pro sports longer--Hockey Hall of Famer Gordie Howe, who played 32 years.
87--Errors he’s made. Ryan has never been great with a glove, having a career .897 fielding percentage.
1,167--Different players he has struck out. Ryan added 22 new names to the list last year.