Thursday, October 20, 2011

1980 nolan ryan

after 8 years in california, the angels' owner gene autry, along with gm buzzie bavasi, allowed nolan ryan to leave as a free agent. he chose to go home to texas by signing with the houston astros. here is his 1980 o-pee-chee card:
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
this is one of my favorite variations, by the way. ryan's future hof status, the fact that he started the 1979 all-star game for the american league, and the colors themselves combine to make an unforgettable card.

anyway, ryan went on to have a typical nolan ryan season for the astros in 1980. he had a good era (3.35), and at least 200 strikeouts, but his record was just one game over .500 (11-10). he also led the league in walks. clearly, there was some truth to bavasi's statement that he would replace ryan 'with two 8-7 pitchers'.

on the other hand, ryan threw a 2-hitter (one of 18 in his career) against the cubs and recorded his 3000th career strikeout on july 4th, getting the reds' cesar geronimo (who had also been bob gibson's 3000th victim). to top it off, ryan hit his first career home run off of another future hall of famer (don sutton) and helped the astros get to the postseason for the first time in franchise history.

voici à vous, 1980 nolan ryan!

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