"He was the only guy that could put fear in me. Not because he could get me out, but because he could kill me. You just hoped to mix in a walk so you could have a good night and go 0-for-3."
Ryan twirls second no-no of season
In 1973, one of the best pitchers in baseball history would have arguably the best season of his 27-year career.
On July 15, 1973, Nolan Ryan tossed a no-hitter for the California Angels, in a game against the Detroit Tigers. Ryan finished the game allowing only four baserunners, all on walks. He also struck out 17 batters – the highest total of the season for the right-hander.
The effort was Ryan’s second no-hitter of the 1973 campaign, as he had blanked the Kansas City Royals earlier in the year on May 15 – an impressive feat as both the Royals and Tigers would finish over .500 for the season.
These would be the first two no-hitters of Ryan’s career. The future Hall of Famer would become only the fourth pitcher in the Live Ball Era to throw two no-hitters in the same season, joining Johnny Vander Meer, Allie Reynolds and Virgil Trucks.
Ryan would eventually accumulate seven total no-hitters over his career, which ranks first all-time.
In addition to his two no-no’s that year, the eight-time All-Star would also finish the season with 383 strikeouts. This remains the most ever for a pitcher in any one season during the Live Ball Era. His 5,714 strikeouts rank first all-time for a career.
Ryan’s outing against the Tigers would bring his record to an even 11-11 that year, and drop his earned-run average to 2.90. He would finish the season with a 21-16 record and a 2.87 ERA in 326 innings pitched.
For his efforts, Ryan would finish second in the American League Cy Young Award voting in 1973. He was runner-up to Orioles right-hander and fellow future Hall of Fame pitcher, Jim Palmer.
Known for his aggressive pitching style and powerful fastball, Ryan ranks at or near the top of a number of career pitching categories – including first all-time in walks with 2,795.
“He was the only guy that could put fear in me. Not because he could get me out, but because he could kill me,” said future Hall of Fame outfielder Reggie Jackson. “You just hoped to mix in a walk so you could have a good night and go 0-for-3.”
The Texan also showed great longevity in his career. Ryan ranks fifth in career innings pitched with 5,386, good enough for second all-time in the Live Ball Era behind only Hall of Famer Phil Niekro.
Ryan Turnquist 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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