Nolan Ryan is among my three top favorite athletes, even if I don’t claim to have any superior sports knowledge. His last name is my middle name, and quite frankly, having a historic Astros jersey with our shared name on the back was indefensibly cool.
Ryan played for both The Astros and The Rangers, is a product of Alvin, Texas and has since made some great moves in maintaining a space in the meat market space post MLB retirement. Maybe most importantly, Ryan is memorably known for throwing Robin Ventura into a headlock and punching the batter who charged the mound after a wild pitch in 1993.
Really, Nolan Ryan has pitched 7 career no hitters, is an 8 time All Star Pitcher and has over 5700 strikeouts under his belt. This is a player who in a 27 year career has stories and the stats to back it up.
I think many Texans love Ryan for the “take no shit” spirit he exudes. It is not rude, Nolan Ryan appears to be a humble guy; but realistically, there is something to be said for a person who says what they mean and means what they say.
I don’t have many pieces of sports memorabilia, but the few I do have are very Houston specific; Earl Campbell, Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Nolan Ryan and Case Keenum. Nolan Ryan has easily made it into my collection, or even a possible forgery baseball that I saw online. But, if ever given the chance to shake Mr. Ryan’s hand, I would thank him for all he has done for Texas.
The statue this week is located outside of the Alvin History Museum. Alvin, a town that assures me of Ryan’s modesty, is the same kind of place where a smile and a handshake still seem to mean something. I would recommend you visit if given the chance. Stop by The Gordon Street Tavern and get some Yellowjacket Fries. Swing by Froberg’s Farms and pick some fruit. And get your meat sticks at Stanton’s Grocery. You can thank me later.
This week’s track is “The Orange Express” by the band Apple Pie. The record is from Ryan’s Astros days (of which I am most partial). The express connection is what made me turn my head. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.