Friday, October 22, 2010

#20 - Nolan Ryan (CAL)

Uhhhhhhm, now how cool is this.  My next card in the set is Nolan Ryan, just a couple of hours at most after the Texas Rangers win the AL pennant.  I didn't plan this either.  I was sitting here uploading the scans and the highlights were on the TV.

Okay, what can I say about Nolan Ryan?  All time strikeout leader with 5714.  Twenty-seven big league seasons, 324 career wins, all time walks leader with 2795, all time record seven no-hitters.  member Baseball Hall of Fame.  Only one World Series appearance, with the 1969 Mets, where he got a ring.  He finished out game 3 with 2.1 innings pitched in a 5-0 Mets win over the Orioles.  This 1974 card came just after his record setting single season record of 383 strikeouts.  As a batter, he had a lifetime .110 average, and hit twice as many career home runs as Duane Kuiper, with two.

Ryan pitched in the radar era, where the speed of his pitches could be measured, even if not on every pitch.  He was the fastest pitcher of my childhood for sure, and I'm certain he would be amongst the top today.  Maybe still the fastest.  I certainly wouldn't want to face him.  Everybody knew he was the fastest pitcher and struck out the most batters.  There were always arguments against him, even for the Hall of Fame because of his W/L record, and how he never played for many great teams.  His long stints with the Angels, Astros and Rangers were with some sub-par teams.  My biggest mistake of his career was staying home from his sixth no-hitter in Oakland because I was sick that night.  I was planning to go sit in the bleachers, like I normally did.

Cartoon:  Nolan sells footballs.  Now nice.  And pricey ones, judging by the tag.  I'm not sure he operates a sporting goods store anymore.  He's going to the World Series and runs a team.  Probably doesn't have the time.  "Hi, I'd like to purchase some Nolan Ryan commons.  Got any?"  "Not in my store, son.  They're all star cards here."

Ballpark background:  I simply can't make out what is behind Ryan.  The blue fence looks like it could be Dodger Stadium, but all the stuff behind it kind of eliminates that.  The background is too blurry.  Are there trees?  People?  I think the Angels played spring training in Palm Springs in the 70's.  Could this be another Cactus League park?  Ryan has an Angels road uniform on.  There seems to be a tunnel over the fence, but what is all the yellow stuff?  Mystery to me for sure.  Any input? [Update: Fleerfan - see comments below - has identified the ballpark in the background as Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.  I'm not very familiar with that old ballpark, especially with all the blurry background in the photo.  But after looking at Fleerfan's link, calling that one out must have been a slam dunk.  So, I'll update my labels for this post.  Thanks, Fleerfan!]


  1. When I was a kid, I thought the blue was water. Now that would be cool. Having a lake right there around 2nd base.

  2. This picture is taken at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.

    For a good shot of the outfield at Memorial Stadium, check out the last 2 pictures at the bottom of my post on the 1971 World Series where you can get a better look at the outfield:

    I'm really enjoying your blog and the look back at the 1974 set and have linked to it from my blog.

    Keep up the great posts!

  3. Fleerfan, you nailed it! Thanks for the input. I see by your avatar that you know what you're talking about.