Nolan Ryan pitches third no-hitter of his career

Written by: Katherine Acquavella

He saved the best for last.

On Sept. 28, the final day of the 1974 Major League Baseball season, Nolan Ryan threw his third career no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins.

Ryan struck out 15 Minnesota batters and won his 22nd game of the season in a 4-0 victory for the California Angels.

It was the sixth time of the season that Ryan fanned at least 15 in a game, and 13th time in a career-high 41 starts that he struck out 10 or more.

Ryan finished the season with a league-leading 367 strikeouts, with the second most being 118 behind.

The right-hander became the first pitcher to surpass 300 strikeouts for three consecutive seasons (383 in 1973 and 329 in 1972).

“I think I was throwing as hard right from the start as I have in any game this year, but it was a struggle,” Ryan told the New York Times after the game. “When you throw as many pitches as I did tonight, you gotta be lucky.”

During the no-no, Ryan walked eight Twins batters to push his season total to 202 bases on balls, becoming just the second pitcher (after Bob Feller) to reach 200 walks in one season.

Ryan’s catcher Tom Egan told the Times that Ryan was “all around the plate all night.”

“He walked a lot of people, but we worked real well together and that’s what it takes to win and pitch a no-hitter,” said Egan.

After the game, Ryan showed his appreciation for Egan. “He caught an outstanding game and I never shook him off once,” said Ryan.

This cap, which Nolan Ryan wore while pitching his third no-hitter on Sept. 28, 1974, is part of the National Baseball Hall of Fame's collection. (Milo Stewart Jr. / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Ryan, one of the most decorated pitchers in Major League Baseball history, tallied 324 career wins in his major league record (tied with Cap Anson, Class of 1939) 27-year career while establishing all-time records in strikeouts (5,714) and no-hitters with seven.

The eight-time All-Star owned or shared 53 Major League records. He is fifth in lifetime innings (5,387), tied for seventh in shutouts (61) and tied for 13th in victories while his 773 starts are second only to Cy Young (815).

Ryan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999, with 98.79 percent of the vote.

Katherine Acquavella was a public relations intern in the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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