Nolan Ryan played for the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers over the course of his 27-year career in Major League Baseball.
Drafted by the Mets out of high school in the 12th round of the 1965 MLB Draft, Ryan made his debut in Flushing in September of 1966.
After spending 1967 back in the minors, Ryan was back up for good in 1968, settling in as a wild by flame-throwing swingman (who mostly started). After winning a World Series with the 1969 Miracle Mets and then pitching more than 130 innings in each of 1970 and 1971, Ryan was on the move.
The Mets traded Ryan, Frank Estrada, Don Rose, and Leroy Stanton to the Angels in exchange for Jim Fregosi on December 10, 1971.
In Anaheim, Ryan developed into one of the most dominant hurlers of the 1970s, winning seven strikeout crowns and tossing four no-hitters.
At the end of the decade, he parlayed those eye-popping strikeouts into a lucrative free agent deal with the Astros, becoming baseball’s first million-dollar-per-year player.
After nine more legendary summers that included another no-hitter and two more strikeout crowns, Ryan moved across the state to sign with the Rangers for the 1989 season.
In Texas, Ryan pitched yet two more no-hitters, captured two more K crowns, and nothced his 5000th strikeout.
It all cemented The Ryan Express as an easy Hall of Fame choice, and he sailed into Cooperstown on his first try in 1999.