Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nolan Ryan: Texas Ranger

Dec. 7, 1988 a day that will live in renown in the annals of Texas Ranger history. This was the day Nolan became a Texas Ranger and started what would ultimately result in this:

And a year later this:

Somewhere in between he had a few little milestone moments as a Texas Ranger like win 300 of what would ultimately be 324, strikeout number 5000 of eventually 5714. No hitter number 6 on June 11, 1990 and on May 1, 1991 No hitter number 7.

May 1,1991 I was a college student at The University of Texas in Austin. Today, I love my Longhorns from Dallas but in 1991 I missed my Rangers like crazy. On May 1, 1991 I had just moved into a new apartment in North Austin and was waiting on the cable guy. I had already decided I was going to drive home that Wed. afternoon to go to the Rangers game that night. I had a Thursday morning class but I could drive back early, no problem. Twenty year olds don't need sleep. The cable guy was suppose to be at my apartment by noon. You all know where this is going, right? The cable guy showed up at 3:30 apologizing for being late and asking if I had plans that night. When I told him where I was going he felt terrible. By the time he finished and left it was 4pm. I could make it to Arlington Stadium but I would never make it to my parents house too. So, I didn't go. My brother, who was a senior in high school did. To this day he rubs in my face the fact he was at Nolan's 7th No Hitter and I was in Austin watching on cable.

What some of you may have forgotten or weren't around to remember is how exciting those Ryan years were. Every time he took the mound, it was a possible No Hitter bid. At least two games I attended saw Nolan pitching no-hit ball into the 6th inning and one game he lost it after 7 1/3 innings. For the first time I could remember people in DFW were exited about the Rangers. Oh, there was V-ball excitement and there were the sluggers but Nolan gave this club a sense of legitimacy it lacked up until that time. Randy Galloway used to say Nolan put butts in seats. He helped sell tickets wherever the Rangers went. He helped build us the temple we now call Rangers Ballpark.

Nolan retired after the 1993 season. The Ballpark opened the following spring.
Later came the Tom Hicks years. What a miserable period. The black years. The Rangers Great Depression. Fast forward to Feb. 6, 2008. Did anyone else do a happy dance when you heard Nolan was coming back? With Nolan as President this club had to get better in spite of the owner. That's how I felt anyway. You all know the rest except for this, Aug. 4, 2010 was the court date for the sale of the Texas Rangers. I was in Austin that week. The game that night was not on in Austin so I had to watch on my computer. I followed along with Twitter on the never ending sale. Shortly after midnight the Rangers won the game thanks to Michael Young and at almost the same time they won a new ownership group with Nolan once again playing the part of savior. That was August 5 and that is my birthday. I believe it will be a long time before I get a better birthday present.
So, I am a day late, but Happy Birthday to you Nolan Ryan, Texas Ranger. Thanks for saving the Rangers. In the words of Ron Washington you are one bad, bad boy!

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1 comment:

Rachel said...

I love this!! Love love love Nolan! :) I wish I had been able to see him pitch live in person. I didn't go to my first MLB game until 1995 (Astros) and didn't make it to the Ballpark until 1997. Little did I know that I would one day live so close to the Ballpark I would be going all the time. Happy times!!


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