Most baseball fans will remember Nolan Ryan because of his disappointing last MLB game, in which he failed to retire a single batter and injured himself, not to mention his team at the time, the Rangers, lost to the opposing team the Mariners. However, even that unimpressive final game should not overshadow the fact that Nolan Ryan’s Angels’ jersey is one of the most popular among Angels fans for a good reason, such as:
All of His Uniforms Were Retired
Ryan made such a lasting mark on the sport that he is currently the only player in Major League Baseball to have had his jersey retired by three teams, namely the Rangers, the Astros, and the Angels.
He Popularized the Use of Pickle Juice in Baseball
It is well-known that Nolan Ryan had a habit of dabbing his fingers in pickle juice, with the intent of toughening them up and avoiding blisters. While we have not done much research as to the viability of this practice, you can bet that many baseball players have since adopted the practice.
Owns Two Minor League Teams
Nolan and his sons are the owners of the Round Rock Express and the Corpus Christi Hooks. Who’s to say that there aren’t any of those minor league players who will eventually become all-star greats in the future? You’ll have Nolan to thank (partly) for that.
Raises Beefmaster Cattle
Not exactly baseball-related, but Ryan should at least be credited for helping the cattle industry due to his raising of Beefmaster cattle in South Texas. The Beefmasters are prized in the industry because they were specifically bred to be tough, and can survive the brutal summers in South Texas.
Had a Lengthy, Fulfilling Career
People really shouldn’t focus on Ryan’s last game, and it shouldn’t overshadow the verity that he played eight seasons for the Angels, before leaving them and finishing the 1979 season with a 16-14 record. After that, he went on to pitch for 14 more seasons. He played a total of 27 seasons in the MLB, playing for the Angels, the Astros, the Mets, and the Rangers. And let us not forget that he holds records for 5,714 career strikeouts and 7 career no-hitters.
He Shouldn’t Even Be a Baseball Player
Lastly, Ryan might not have even become a baseball player were it not for fate—Ryan played football in highschool, but fortunately for fans, he had a head-on collision with future NFL star Norm Bulaich, which promptly convinced him that he’s not meant for football.