Hurte: Nolan Ryan’s secret ingredient

From SABR member Bob Hurte at on December 31, 2012:

As an eleven year old, I can remember leafing through a copy of LIFE magazine while waiting to get a hair cut at the barbers in Somerville, New Jersey.  I was basically flipping through the award winning pictures that the magazine was known for, until one day, I came across an article about Nolan Ryan, the Mets young fire-baller.

I can remember reading: “Someday, when he puts it all together, they’re going to talk about Nolan Ryan the way they talk about Sandy Koufax.”  – Ron Swoboda.

Red Murff signed Nolan Ryan in 1965, as the Mets fifth round draft pick, 250th overall.  Apparently the rest of the major league teams did not covet this native of Alvin, Texas.  He became legendary in places like: Greenville, South Carolina, Marion, Virginia, Williamsport, Pennsylvania and Winter Haven, Florida.

Before joining the Mets, he served in the army and battled a sore arm; Ryan only pitched eleven innings at Winter Haven and Jacksonville in 1967.  Still, he struck out twenty-three batters.

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Originally published: December 31, 2012. Last Updated: December 31, 2012.