MAY 05


Texas Rangers’ pitcher Nolan Ryan felt every one of his 44 years early in the evening of May 1, 1991. Worse, he was about to face the hard‑hitting Toronto Blue Jays.

Ryan reportedly approached pitching coach Tom House in the clubhouse to prepare him for the worst.

“My back hurts, my heel hurts and I’ve been pounding Advil all day,” Ryan told him. “I don’t feel good. I feel old today. Watch me.”

House watched, all right, as Ryan pumped 94 and 95 mph fastballs past batters who weren’t even born when he made his major league debut with the New York Mets in 1966. Second baseman Roberto Alomar swung through the last of those deliveries, the finishing flourish to Ryan’s record seventh career no‑hitter. Three months past his 44th birthday, the Rangers’ ageless wonder was the oldest pitcher to author such a masterpiece.

“He was just so dominating,” said plate umpire Tim Tschida, who worked 27 MLB seasons (1986‑2012). “As it went on, you got the feeling no one was gonna get a solid hit, that if they broke it up it was gonna be on a flare or an off‑the‑fists kind of thing or a bloop of some sort. His stuff was just electric.”

The Blue Jays entered the game as the majors’ top hitting team with a .276 average. But Ryan, mixing crackling fastballs with dazzling curveballs and changeups, silenced their bats in a 3‑0 victory at Arlington Stadium.

“I never had command of all three pitches like I did tonight,” Ryan told reporters. “This was my most overpowering no‑hitter.”

Ryan struck out 16 batters in what Walter Shapiro of Time magazine called a “time‑warp classic.”

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