Nolan Ryan Biography

(One of the Best MLB Pitchers of All Time)

Birthday: January 31, 1947 (Aquarius)

Born In: Refugio, Texas, United States

Popularly nicknamed, ‘The Ryan Express’, Nolan Ryan is the holder of a world record for pitching the fastest baseball, which was documented at 100.9 miles per hour. He made his mark as an excellent ‘power-pitcher’ of his time and was ranked as the '24th best pitcher of all time'. He also made it to the 41st position on 'The Sporting News' list of 'the 100 Greatest Baseball Players'. Born in Texas, Ryan began playing baseball at the age of nine for the Alvin Little League. After he graduated from school, he was selected for The New York Mets team. He also received military training and graduated from the Army Reserve obligation. After he officially retired from baseball, he pursued business and retired as the chief executive officer of the Texas Rangers. He also played for the California Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers. He is the only baseball major league player to hold his number with three teams - the California Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers. He is an inductee of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Quick Facts

Nick Name: The Ryan Express

Also Known As: Lynn Nolan Ryan Jr., The Ryan Express

Age: 77 Years, 77 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Ruth Holdorff

father: Lynn Nolan Ryan Sr.

mother: Martha Lee Hancock Ryan

children: Reese Ryan, Reid Ryan, Wendy Ryan

Born Country: United States

Baseball Players American Men

Height: 6'2" (188 cm), 6'2" Males

political ideology: Republican

U.S. State: Texas

Childhood & Early Life

Lynn Nolan Ryan, Jr. was born on January 31, 1947, in Refugio, Texas, to Lynn Nolan Ryan, Sr. and Martha Lee Hancock Ryan. He was the youngest child in his family.

Just a few weeks after his birth, his family moved to Alvin, Texas. Even as a child, he had sharp eyesight and was known to have good arm strength.

During his school days, he along with his father, delivered newspapers in the neighborhood, every day in the morning. He would wake up at 1 am to do this.

At the age of nine, he became a part of the Alvin Little League Baseball. By the time he was eleven, he made it into the All-Star team. While he was at Alvin High School, he played under coach, Jim Watson.

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In 1965, he was selected into The New York Mets team, in which he was put in the eighth round. He was soon pitching in Marion, Virginia, and for the Appalachian Rookie League.

In 1966, he was selected to play two games for The New York Mets team. At that time, he was the second youngest to play for the team. The same year, he also joined the military and took training.

In 1967, he completed his military training at the Army Reserve obligation. As for his sporting career, he could not play much during that season because he was suffering from an elbow injury.

In 1968, he managed to pitch his first full season with The New York Mets team. He eventually led his team to victory against the Baltimore Orioles in the next year’s World Series.

In 1971, he was traded to the California Angels team as a starting pitcher. He later headed the American league by over 320 strikeouts and a total of nine shutouts.

By the end of 1973, he had beaten player Sandy Koufax's record by pitching two no-hitters. He also secured a new major league record as he managed to successfully gain 383 strikeouts.

In 1979, he joined the Houston Astros, after he sealed a contract with them for a sum of $1 million. With this team, he broke the record of player Walter Johnson by securing his 3,509th strikeout.

After a contract dispute with the Houston Astros in the 1988 season, he became a part of the Texas Rangers, joining the team as a free agent. The following year, he led the league with a total of 301 strikeouts.

In 1991, he pitched his last and seventh no-hitter. Two years later, before the start of the season, he announced his retirement at the age of 46 holding 5,714 strikeouts.

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In 2008, he was appointed the team president of the ‘Texas Rangers.’ The following year, Ryan, along with Chuck Greenberg, decided to buy the Texas Rangers from Tom Hicks. Following the purchase in 2010, Greenberg assumed the role of managing general partner and CEO while Ryan remained the team president.

However, Greenberg and Ryan parted ways in 2011 following an ideological clash. After this, Ryan became the CEO of the Rangers, a position he served until October 2013.

In February 2014, he assumed the role of executive adviser for the Houston Astros. Interestingly, his son, Reid Ryan, also became a part of the franchise as the president of business operations. However, he was later demoted after the 2019 World Series. Soon after, Ryan announced that he won’t be returning to the Houston Astros for the 2020 season.

Awards & Achievements

In 1999, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 2012, he was recognised as the ‘Dallas-Fort Worth’s 2012 CEO of the Year’, by the Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1968, he married his high school girlfriend Ruth. The couple went on to have three children together.

After his retirement, he ventured into business and took ownership of the teams, Corpus Christi Hooks and Round Rock Express. He has also authored books.

In 2000, he suffered from a heart attack and underwent a double coronary bypass.

In 1992, he was honored with a $1 commemorative coin by the United States Mint. They referred to the coin as the ‘Nolan Ryan dollar’.

In 1995, the Texas State Legislature renamed State Highway 288 to the Nolan Ryan Expressway, in his honor.

In 2008, he was appointed as the president of the Texas Rangers. He retired as the CEO in October 2013.


At the age of 44, he became the oldest pitcher to throw a no-hitter when he beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-0. This was his major-league record 7th and final no-hitter. Interestingly, he threw fastballs in the upper nineties well into his forties as well.

See the events in life of Nolan Ryan in Chronological Order

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