Nolan Ryan, one of the most decorated pitchers in Major League Baseball history, enters his second season with the Astros organization as the club's Executive Advisor. In his current role, Nolan serves as an advisor to Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane, General Manager Jeff Luhnow and his son, President of Business Operations Reid Ryan. Nolan brings over 45 seasons of baseball experience as a player and executive to the ballclub.
Throughout his storied career, Nolan has achieved success in baseball both on and off the field. As a pitcher, he was one of the best ever, tallying 324 career wins in his Major League record 27-year career while establishing all-time records in strikeouts (5,714) and no-hitters with seven (also threw 12 one-hitters). A native of nearby Alvin, Texas, Nolan signed with the Astros prior to the 1980 season and would pitch for nine seasons (1980-88) in Houston, his most for any club. Prior to his arrival, the Astros had not made the postseason in their history. However, in his nine seasons, Houston made the playoffs three times (1980, 1981, 1986), falling just shy of the NL Pennant in both 1980 and 1986. On July 25, 1999, Ryan was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in what was his first year of eligibility.
After retiring as a player following the 1993 season, Ryan worked in the Texas Rangers front office before returning to the Astros front office in February 2004. In his four years as Special Assistant to the General Manager, he assisted the baseball operations staff in a variety of areas on the Major and minor league levels. In his first two seasons back with Houston, the Astros enjoyed great success, falling one game shy of winning the NL Pennant in 2004 before capturing the pennant in 2005 to become the first team from Texas ever to play in a World Series.
Most recently, Nolan served as CEO and President of the Texas Rangers and was part of the team's ownership group. He oversaw baseball and business operations for the franchise and was a member of the Board of Directors. Under Nolan's leadership, the Rangers had the highest per-game attendance increase in the Majors from 2008 to 2009 and the third largest increase from 2009 to 2010. The club established single-season home attendance records in 2011 and 2012, surpassing the 3 million mark for the first time in franchise history in 2012. His influence on baseball operations helped the Rangers to three consecutive postseason appearances, including consecutive American League championships in 2010 and 2011.
Nolan compiled a career 324-292 record with a 3.19 ERA in 807 appearances in an unprecedented 27 seasons with the New York Mets (1966; 1968-71), California Angels (1972-79), Astros (1980-88), and Rangers (1989-93). The eight-time All-Star owned or shared 53 Major League records. He is fifth in lifetime innings (5387.0), tied for seventh in shutouts (61), and tied for 13th in victories while his 773 starts are second only to Cy Young (815).
In his nine seasons with the Astros, Nolan posted a 106-94 record with a 3.13 ERA in 1854.2 innings over his 282 starts. He holds the franchise records for career strikeouts in an Astros uniform (1,866) and ERA in a single season (1.69 in 1981). He represented Houston in the All-Star Game twice (1981, 1985) and also clinched both of his NL pitching titles in an Astros uniform (1981, 1987). The club retired his number, 34, in 1996. Off the field, The Nolan Ryan Foundation built the Nolan Ryan Center for Continuing Education at Alvin Community College, a facility which opened in 1996. He also sponsors the Nolan Ryan Scholarship Fund at Alvin Community College.
Nolan and his wife, Ruth, were married on June 26, 1967, and have three children: Robert Reid (11/21/71), Nolan Reese (1/21/76), and Wendy Lynn (3/22/77). Nolan and Ruth have seven grandchildren.
Nolan was born on Jan. 31, 1947, in Refugio, Texas. His family moved to Alvin when he was six weeks old, and he remained an Alvin resident until 2003, when the Ryans moved to Georgetown.