Nolan Ryan
vs. the Mets
Nolan Ryan
vs. Other Teams
Game Log Pitching
Memories of
Nolan Ryan
Nolan Ryan
Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, 1999
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 40 of 1043 players
Lynn Nolan Ryan
Born: January 31, 1947 at Refugio, Tex.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Height: 6.02 Weight: 195

Nolan Ryan has been the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup 25 times, most recently on February 13, 2018.


First Mets game: September 11, 1966
Last Mets game: September 28, 1971

Share your memories of Nolan Ryan


February 14, 2001
What was the big deal about this Ryan guy? HAve you seen his batting average?

Seriously, if his wife wasn't petrified of NY, he might have stayed. Although, he also hated New York.

February 25, 2001
Trading this country hick for fregosi on paper was not such a bad deal. He never liked New York and begged to be traded. The Mets had enough pitching at the time and needed a third baseman. This inbred is the only 1969 met not to go to the old-timer reunions. This says how much he cared about the Mets. All he cares about are his strike-outs and no-hitters even though the only championship he ever won was with the Mets. hope you enjoyed your time in houston and dallas?

Richard Kissel
March 30, 2001
It wasn't just that we traded this Hall of Famer for a washed up shortstop who we wanted to put on third base. It is the three other players we also gave up.

Coach HoJo 20
April 20, 2001
The Ryan Express was in my opinion the greatest pitcher of all time. There are some people in baseball that you just need to see. Ryan is one of those guys.

Coach HoJo 20
April 25, 2001
This memory is from Ventura's days as a ChiSox and Ryan's days as a Ranger.

Does anybody remember when Ventura charged the mound when Ryan hit him with a pitch? I bet Ventura didn't expect to be humiliated by an "old timer." Ventura charged the mound, Ryan gets him in a headlock and pounds on his head and then boom he hits him with a powerful forearm shot.

Pretty embarrassing for Ventura. Just goes to show that you should never underestimate your opponent.

Mike Tenenbaum
August 3, 2001
In the third game of the 1969 NLCS, Hodges went to the bullpen with go-ahead runs on base for the Braves. The hitter was Hank Aaron.

Ryan struck out the Hammer and ended the threat.

"Ryan is the only pitcher who could have done that to me," Aaron later said.

Another thing I remember was that Ryan's fingers were always blistered. His solution was to soak his fingers in pickle juice.

Mike D
September 26, 2001
Nolan, was a great pitcher. Probably, in my oponion, the best of all time. The single Nolan Ryan memory that sticks in my mind was, in 1992 when he struck Robin Ventura, with a pitch. Ventura rushed the mound, Nolan put him in a headlock and, kept hitting him in his face. It was wild.

Mr. Sparkle
September 27, 2001
Ryan pitched for the Mets so long ago and really wasn't a major factor for them in those days. Obviously he had potential but the numbers he put up for us were never all that special. It's hard to think of him as a Met since he was with the Angels, Astros and Rangers for seemingly ever. When with the Mets he really wasn't a regular starter and didn't even have a winning record. I don't consider him a great Met but rather he's one that got away. If he were around today with the numbers he had then, I could see trading him for some offense. Obviously it would be a bad trade but you wouldn't know that until it were too late.

Jim Snedeker
November 19, 2001
I agree with Mr. Sparkle, it wasn't a big deal for us to trade away Nolan Ryan when we did. I remember being extremely happy when I heard the news. Fact is, back then, he had no control. It was like getting Doug Sisk for nine innings.

December 14, 2001
Here's the thing...

I have a friend (slightly older than myself) who remembers the time of the trade vividly, and he says that the reports were that if Ryan weren't traded, he was going to retire.

I always liked Jack Lang's memory of this. For weeks beforehand, he wrote complaining because the Mets weren't doing anything on the trade front.

When the Ryan trade was announced, he confronted M. Donald (Duck) Grant in the lobby of the hotel and asked how on Earth he could deal Ryan.

Grant said "You know? You're never satisfied. For weeks you've saying we should make a trade."

Lang: "Yeah, but I never said to make THAT trade!"

January 31, 2002
I just KNOW I'm going to be in the minority on this I have been every time I've made this statement. But--I was in favor of the Fregosi/Ryan trade.

You've gotta remember; Ryan had been with the Mets a little while. And just about every time he went out there, he was wild--look at his walks per innings pitched. Back then, the NL was thought of as a "low-ball league," where the umps called the strikes low. The American League was popularly thought of as giving you the "high strike." The problem for Ryan with the Mets was, because of how hard he threw, the ball often sailed high when he was with the Mets. And to this day, NO one can tell me that this fact made him a MUCH more effective pitcher in the American League. I'd venture to say that if he had been traded to a NL team instead of the Angels, he'd have nowhere near a Hall of Fame career.

Of course, the fact that Fregosi had a horrible year didn't help. The Mets tried to make him a 3B; I always knew him as a SS prior to then. Sometimes, learning a new position can affect other parts of your game.

February 21, 2002
My favorite memory of Ryan as a Met was a game in Philly. He pitched a one-hitter and walked nine. Typical outing for him as a Met.

rich edwards
March 15, 2002
When the trade was made fregosi was a star in his prime, and the Mets had enough pitching that they didn't have to count on a sub .500 erratic flame thrower. Think about this for all the no hitters and strike outs, how many of you would pick him to win the must game for you? He did lose 290 games.

March 18, 2002
When people criticize the Nolan Ryan/Jim Fregosi trade, keep in mind that Ryan forced the Mets hand. He wanted out of New York, his wife hated New York, and he was going to retire if he wasn't traded. Of course, if this happened in the present era, Ryan would have simply become a free agent and headed of to either one of the Texas clubs, no matter what the Mets offered.

Mets in baseball
May 1, 2002
I agree with the above entry: Ryan (and his wife) was not happy in NY and never would have gone on to the success he did. He would have gone on to have a career similar to Gentry, McAndrew and Capra no doubt - not that I am comparing their talents.

Gary fro Chesapeake
May 4, 2002
My favorite memory of Nolan Ryan is hearing Lindsay Nelson call a pitch of his on radio: "Past the batter, past the catcher, past the umpire. All the way back to the wall..... a ball." And his voice was just so matter-of-fact!

October 16, 2002
C'mon, Mets fans. Be realistic. How many of you actually think that Nolan Ryan would have been a Met his entire career?

October 17, 2002
Michael-I don't know how long you've been a Met fan, but I've been one long enough to know that had Nolan stayed a Met he would have ended up being affected by the Flushing curse, ended up sucking big time and we fans would have crowned him Komiyama the first. Only the 1969, 1973, 1986 & 1988 & maybe the 2000 because I believe they got in on a fluke (beautiful as it was) teams have eluded the curse. It's almost like the curse of the Bambino in Boston, and the 54 year curse of the NY Rangers. We should only find out what the secret of the a formentioned teams were so we can end it once and for all.

November 28, 2002
One thing about Ryan, he wanted to be traded. I recall him saying that he would not really like raising his kids in NY. Well, guess what. Only WS ring he ever got he got in NY.

Kevin McLaughlin
January 7, 2003
My memory of Ryan is him shutting out the Pirates in June of '71. I was sitting in the upper deck behind home plate, and man, they couldn't touch him. He seemed like he was finally coming into his own. After that, he finished the season 2 and 10.

I know they "had" to trade him, but Jim Fregosi? He wasn't a star in his prime, he was a decent (at best) hitting SHORTSTOP, that had to learn to play third. They could have done better than that. BTW, my favorite memory of Fregosi is I was at the game when they announced he was sold to Texas.

Bob R.
January 9, 2003
Trading Nolan Ryan was a good idea, but why did they have to trade him for washed-up Jim Fregosi? They could have done a lot better. Nolan was never comfortable playing in New York. Despite his many career strikeouts, Nolan wasn't in the same class as Tom Seaver or Jerry Koosman. As bad as this trade was, though, it wasn't as bad as the Amos Otis - Joe Foy fiasco.

January 16, 2003
It was a trade that had to be done. Seriously, what could they ACTUALLY have gotten for Nolan Ryan in 1971? Who were the takers besides the ANGELS? It was the Mets minor league program that taught this guy how to pitch in the first place!

Feat Fan
March 13, 2004
Ryan was so dominant that when Norm Cash came to the plate in the ninth inning after striking out three times previously, he stepped into the box with a piano leg instead of a bat. The umpire made him switch to a bat but it didn't help. Cash popped out to end the game. Amazing how the Mets STILL have not thrown a no hit game!

September 23, 2005
It's disappointing that Ryan never acknowledges his years with the Mets. The guy pitched 27 seasons. To repeat: 27 seasons -- and his only ring came in '69. Yet it almost seems like he doesn't want anyone to know he started in New York.

Met Fan 39991
November 6, 2005
Following the team when Ryan played for the Mets, trading Ryan wasn't bad. It is just the trade they made. The Angels got more production from Leroy Stanton who went to the Angels with Ryan, than the Mets got from Fregosi, who wound up helping the Mets the most by leaving the team! It was a pathetic trade. But Ryan had trouble pitching in New York, and probably really needed a change. It is just too bad the Mets got so shortchanged during the trade.

Jonathan Stern
November 17, 2005
Judging by his comments in Maury Allen's book on the 1969 Mets, you don't get the sense that Ryan felt much of a connection to the Mets. Not once does he express joy over the Miracle Year, nor pride over his outstanding postseason performances. Reportedly, the man just did not like New York. Either Ryan needed to distance himself from the NYC experiences that nearly ended his career before it really took fire, or he valued strikeouts and personal records more than winning - with the Mets or with any other team. A cold superstar, on the whole.

Figured prominently for the Astros in both of my two favorite playoff series: 1980 and 1986. In 1980, Tug's Phils came back to win the pennant when Ryan could not get anyone out in the eighth inning of Game 5 (he lost it at the worst possible time). Dealt nasty in '86 after several Mets were quoted as saying they thought he was over-the-hill. They were (extremely) wrong, but, thankfully, they prevailed in six.

December 20, 2006
A LOT of the stuff I've seen above is either twisted out of proportion or untrue...and simply making excuses for one of the worst trades in baseball history. The urban legend that Nolan threatened to retire if he wasn't traded is just urban legend started by fans who had to find some flaw with Ryan.

It is 100% true that his wife disliked NYC intensely, but wasn't pressuring him to ask to be traded. However, I'll grant you that I'm sure it would have eventually played a factor.

Also, the Angels weren't "the only taker" as someone mentioned above, nor was his New York career similar to Doug Sisk (it was actually more reminiscent of Ryne Duren's two career years, although Nolan gave up fewer hits). First off, the Detroit Tigers expressed interest in Ryan, and were willing to give up Aurelio Rodriguez (about ten times better than Fregosi) for Ryan and another pitcher (meaning Leroy Stanton would've stayed in NY). Other teams that expressed interest in him were the Expos, Orioles, and Brewers, although I'm not sure what they were willing to give up for him.

The bottom line is we should stop making excuses and admit we screwed up. It was an awful trade, one of the worst in baseball, and we've moved on.

Mike H
December 20, 2006
How could any Met fan fail to acknowledge how awesome Nolan was for us in the '69 postseason? He's one of the greatest pitchers of all time, people. Be proud that one of the greatest ever wore a Mets uniform first. Thanks for all the thrills, Nolan.

December 30, 2006
Dalkowski - I disagree. The fact that Nolan Ryan asked to be traded from the Mets is not an urban legend started by fans who wanted to make excuses for the trade. Ryan indeed walked into GM Bob Scheffing's office after the 1971 season and told the GM that he did not want to spend another season in New York. According to Scheffing "He hoped I would trade him. I don't think he would have walked away from baseball, but I couldn't take that chance." Anyway, he might never have been Nolan Ryan, the 300 game winner and Hall-of-Fame pitcher if he remained with the Mets. Baseball was probably better off because of it.

September 5, 2009
Dealing him away for Jim Fregosi was a mistake. The Mets should have gotten God plus two minor leaguers, at least.

Larry Zappala
October 6, 2010
Ryan was so erratic with the Mets that they could no longer carry him. I remember his pitching motion as herky-jerky compared to the more compact delivery he acquired especially toward his later years. That's where the blame lies: not upper management for the trade but field management for failing to teach him the basics of pitching. Bullpen coach Joe Pignatano could've been more helpful overseeing Ryan's pitching mechanics than the progress of his tomatoes.

Hank Gutstop
March 23, 2011
The thing I remember being talked about, both before and after the Nolan Ryan trade, in the winter after the trade was made, was that Ryan and Gil Hodges didn't get along, and that Ryan wanted out of NY because of Hodges, and Hodges was glad to get rid of Ryan because he had run out of patience with him. This was in all the newspapers. I was only about 10 years old at the time, so it must have been pretty noisy talk if I still remember it.

The sad thing is that Hodges died in spring training that year (on Easter Sunday, if I remember correctly). I wonder if Ryan would have done better with the Mets if playing for the supposedly more patient Yogi Berra as manager.

Ed K
February 21, 2012
I saw Nolan pitch in one of his last Met games in September 1971. It was at the Vet and he was horrible - wild as usual. It did not surprise me that they traded him especially to try to get some more offense on the team - this was before they were able to acquire Rusty the following spring.

I think the higher strike zone in the American League helped Nolan after the trade. I doubt he would have reached stardom as easily if he had stayed a Met.

Leonard Migliore
March 5, 2012
What I remember about Nolan Ryan on the Mets was that he was the reason I never thought of Seaver as a fastball pitcher; Seaver just threw the ball over the plate. Ryan was a fastball pitcher. Much later, I realized that Seaver threw the ball over the plate pretty hard.

Joey spagna
April 13, 2012
He had a beautiful wife. I saw her sitting behind home plate in 1970.

April 19, 2012
We all know how Nolan's career turned out right after he left the Mets. The strikeout records, no-hitters, numerous All-Star Games and his becoming a baseball icon are things that Met fans have had to endure for many years. One thing that should be pointed out about Ryan is that over his entire 27 seasons in the major leagues, he appeared in only one World Series game -- and that was in relief! It was Game Three in 1969 as a member of the Mets. Even though he pitched until he was 46 years old and had his number retired by three other teams, Nolan reached the Fall Classic only with the Mets at the age of 22.

Ryan got a save in his '69 Series appearance, something he achieved only once (with the Angels in 1973) after his departure from New York.

June 13, 2017
Nolan is among the greatest pitchers of all-time, but he still has his critics. There are people who point to his personal wins and losses as a means of claiming that he wasn’t as good as he seemed to be. This is a weak argument on their end. Ryan pitched for an Angels team that finished below the .500 mark every year from 1972 to 1977, during which he set numerous records for strikeouts and pitched no-hitters on his way to shaping his Hall of Fame plaque. It’s extremely difficult for a pitcher (Steve Carlton in ’72 an exception) to accumulate a high winning percentage if his team doesn’t have one of its own. This has always been an unfair label placed on Nolan by those who emphasize a won-lost total, which is a team-related thing. They completely ignore all his accomplishments that made him the true legend he is!

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