Saturday, June 11, 2005
June 11th, 1990
Nolan Ryan Pitches No-Hitter
This was Ryan's sixth no-hitter (incredibly he would have one more in him) but it was perhaps his most dominating performance. Especially since he was facing an Oakland A's team that would go to the World Series and featured the 1990 MVP Rickey Henderson who was having his best season ever, one which saw him post an OPS+ of 188 while stealing sixty five bases against being caught just ten times.
But neither Henderson nor any of his A's teammates would pose any trouble for Ryan on this day. Using his still potent fastball, a hard curveball and the change-up he had added a few years earlier, Ryan handcuffed the A's to the tune of fourteen of his all-time record 5,714 strikeouts. However, Ryan was able to be as dominant as he was because, at least for this night, he could eliminate his long-time nemesis the walk. As great a pitcher as Ryan was, and he was, he is vastly overrated by most fans. Although Ryan's control would improve as his career went on, he still finished his career with nearly half as many walks as Ks. In contrast, Roger Clemens who followed Ryan as baseball's premier power strikeout pitcher has, going into this year, barely over thirty three percent as many walks as strikeouts.
All that being said, this night belonged to Ryan, as he walked just two batters giving an all-around dominating performance. It also marked three unique records for "The Ryan Express" extending his personal no-hitter record to six (as I mentioned, he would later extend it to seven) as well as making him the first--and only--player to throw a no-hitter in three separate decades and to do it for three different teams.