Perhaps, TCU's pitching corps, a staff of high expectations, can relate on a daily basis to an individual whose pitching was of course, legendary...Nolan Ryan.
Ryan will assist Lance Brown again this season as a TCU volunteer assistant coach, working with the pitchers and on-campus recruiting. He joined the Horned Frog baseball staff in April, 1994 as the restricted earnings coach.
Brown and Ryan became friends in the early '80s when Brown served as the pitching coach at Rice and Ryan was pitching for the Houston Astros. While at Rice, Brown often pitched batting practice for the Astros. The relationship continued when Brown moved to TCU as head baseball coach in 1986 and Ryan signed with the Texas Rangers in 1988.
Ryan's involvement with TCU increased in 1991-92 when his oldest son, Reid, transferred from the University of Texas. In three years as a Horned Frog, Reid Ryan compiled an overall mark of 18-14. As Reid was wrapping up his collegiate career, Brown was in the process of signing Nolan's youngest son, Reese, now a sophomore pitcher at TCU.
Ryan, who retired from baseball in 1993 with 53 major league records to his credit, saw action in the major leagues in four different decades.
Ryan finished his career with a record of 324-292 and an earned run average of 3.17. His win total tied him for 11th place all-time with Don Sutton. He was one of nine pitchers in history to defeat all 26 major league teams (prior to 1993 expansion in Colorado and Florida).
When "Big Tex" threw his final pitch on September 22, 1993, he had the most strikeouts (5,714) and no hitters (7) and he had played the longest of anyone in history (27 years). Three records that many believe will never be touched.
No-hitters, strikeouts and work ethic, three phrases that are synonymous with the career of Nolan Ryan. Including the seven "no-no's", he allowed one or fewer hits in a complete game 19 times, yet another record.
He averaged 9.55 strikeouts per nine innings in his career joining Sandy Koufax as the only pitchers in history to average a strikeout an inning. His 5,714 K's is 1,578 strikeouts ahead of second place Steve Carlton on the all-time strikeout list, the largest percentage differential between first and second in and major statistical category.
Ryan signed with the New York Mets organization out of high school. He pitched for the Mets from 1966-7 before being traded to the California Angels, where he spent eight seasons. In 1980, Ryan returned to Texas when he signed as a free agent with the Houston Astros. He enjoyed nine seasons with the National League club before signing with the Texas Rangers in 1989.
Nolan serves as a special assistant to the President of the Texas Rangers, in which he is involved in a number of baseball, marketing and public relation activities on a part-time basis. He owns several cattle ranches and two banks in Texas. He is very involved in charity work and sponsors the Nolan Ryan scholarship fund at Alvin Community College.
He was elected to the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987 and to the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence in 1991.
Ryan, a future member of the Hall-of-Fame, has written two autobiographies, "Throwing Heat" and "Miracle Man". He also wrote "Kings of the Hill" and "Pitching and Hitting" and the "The Pitchers Bible."
Nolan and his wife Ruth have three children; Reid, a recent TCU graduate ; Reese, and Wendy, a sophomore at TCU.
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