Hall of Fame
CLASS OF 2018
Nolan Ryan was one of the most feared pitchers in the game. The only pitcher, it was said, that a batter started thinking about two days before you faced him.
No one threw a harder, faster fastball than the man known as the Ryan Express. The Alvin native’s MLB career spanned four decades, 324 wins, a World Series title in 1969, and a major league-record 5,714 strikeouts.
Nolan Ryan was honored at the 2018 Houston Sports Awards by former teammate Jim Deshaies and legendary broadcaster for the Houston Astros Bill Brown.
When Ryan signed with the Houston Astros in 1980, he became baseball’s first one million dollar per year player. At the time, he was a seven-time league strike-out leader, and he would add four more titles before retiring in 1993.
The 2018 Houston Sports Awards was the first time all Hakeem Olajuwon, Earl Campbell and Nolan Ryan were in the same room at the same time.
Ryan was drafted out of high school by the New York Mets in the 12th round in 1965 and spent three years in their farm system before being called up for good in 1968. He was a spot starter and reliever for the ’69 World Champion Miracle Mets, who traded him to California in the winter of ’71. He became a starter in his first season with the Angels and led the league in strikeouts with 329.
Ruth and Nolan Ryan on the "Red Carpet" at the 2018 Houston Sports Awards.
The Angels traded him to Houston in 1980, and he quadrupled his salary to $1 million per year. He spent nine seasons in Houston, compiling a 106-94 record and 3.13 ERA in 282 starts.
After the 1988 season, Ryan signed with the Texas Rangers. An arm injury cost him his final two starts of his career in 1993, and he retired after playing an MLB record 27 seasons.
Watch Nolan Ryan being honored at the 2018 Houston Sports Awards.
After retiring, Ryan bought the AA Corpus Christi Hooks and AAA Round Rock Express and, then, in 2008, became part-owner, President, and CEO of the Rangers. He resigned from the Rangers in 2013 and was an executive advisor for the Astros until 2019.
Nolan Ryan and Country Artist Steve Wariner at the 2018 Houston Sports Awards.
Hakeem Olajuwon, Nolan Ryan and Earl Campbell on stage at the inaugural Houston Sports Awards in 2018 when the launch of the Houston Sports Hall of Fame was announced and that the legendary "34's" would be the first class inducted.