Inside Pitch

May 1, 1991: Future Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan pitches his 7th no-hitter in a win over the Blue Jays


APRIL 29, 2013

Texas Rangers teammate and catcher Mike Stanley Mike Stanley congratulates Ryan after pitching his seventh no-hitter. (NBHOF Library)

On the same day that Rickey Henderson broke Lou Brock’s all-time steals record, Nolan Ryan made history as well, recording his major league-record seventh no-hitter. 

Twenty-two years ago this week – on May 1, 1991, at the age of 44 – Ryan became the oldest player to register a no-hitter. Facing the best hitting team in baseball, Ryan kept the Blue Jays hitless - striking out at least one batter in each inning, finishing with 16 while walking two in the 3-0 victory for the Rangers. The 33,439 in attendance witnessed the first no-hitter by a Rangers pitcher in Arlington Stadium. In doing so, Ryan now had three more no-hitters than Sandy Koufax – who remains alone in second place with four. 

“It was the most rewarding no-hitter of them all because it came in front of my fans on Arlington Appreciation Night, my career is complete now. I got one for the fans in Arlington,” said Ryan. 

Throwing on three days rest on Arlington Appreciation Night, Ryan struck out future Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar to end the game. Of the 1,176 different players to strike out versus Ryan, Alomar was one of 20 Hall of Famers that he struck out throughout his career. Using his blazing fastball, “The Ryan Express” finished his career with a record 5,714 strikeouts - 839 more than second place Randy Johnson. He struck out 10 or more batters 209 times in his career – also a record. 

Ryan, who holds or shares more than four dozen MLB records, saw seven different presidents take office until he retired in 1993. During his record 27-season career, he struck out players from four different decades - including Roger Maris and Mark McGwire. The only player besides Jackie Robinson (who had his number retired by MLB) to have their number retired by three different teams (Angels, Astros, and Rangers), Ryan finished his career with 324 wins and a 3.19 ERA.

The 11-time league strikeouts leader had six seasons with 300-plus strikeouts, including his single-season live-ball era record of 383 in 1973. The eight-time All-Star had five no-hitters broken up in the ninth inning during his career, leading to a record 12 complete game one-hitters. 

“Every hitter likes fastballs just like everybody likes ice cream. But you don’t like it when someone’s stuffing it into you by the gallon. That’s how you feel when Ryan’s throwing balls by you,” said Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson

A first ballot Hall of Famer, Ryan received 98.79% of the vote in 1999.

Nick Anapolis was the spring 2013 public relations intern at the Baseball Hall of Fame


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