From pitching 108.1 mph to owning boutique butcher shop: Story of 1999 HOFer Nolan Ryan who pursued his passion after earning accolades in baseball

Former MLB pitcher Nolan Ryan took on an interesting post-baseball career
Former MLB pitcher Nolan Ryan took on an interesting post-baseball career

Over the course of his 27-year MLB career, Nolan Ryan has exemplified a durability, longevity and raw skill that is simply not seen in the arms of today. As we are about to see, his superlative work ethic has sustained him well into retirement.

Growing up in Texas, Ryan gained the attention of his Little League coaches for his ability to throw harder and faster than anyone in his age range. After striking out 21 hitters in a high school game, big league scouts knew that they had to have him.

Nolan Ryan was selected by the New York Mets in the 1965 MLB Entry Draft. He made his debut in 1966 and spent the first several years of his MLB career split between the rotation and the bullpen. However, he never put up any memorable numbers.

In late 1971, Ryan was traded to the California Angels. In 1972, his first season in SoCal, the 25-year-old made 39 starts, pitching to a 2.28 ERA. In 1973, he pitched a pair of no-hitters, and two seasons later, his 332 innings led the league.

By this time, Ryan had finished in the top five in Cy Young voting in each of the last three seasons and was seen as an absolute workhorse when it came to eating up innings.

During the 1974 season with the California Angels, Ryan threw a pitch that clocked in at over 108 miles per hour. Upon several instances of validation, the howitzer still stands as the fastest pitch ever recorded.

"Today in 1974, Nolan Ryan threw the fastest pitch ever-recorded during a game at 100.9 mph." - Texas Sports History

In 1979, Ryan became the first million-dollar player in MLB history after he inked a four-year, $4.5 million deal with the Houston Astros. Two years later, he threw the fifth no-hitter of his career, becoming just the third arm to achieve the feat in both leagues. In 21 starts that season, he posted a 1.69 ERA, which was the best in baseball.

Nolan Ryan retired after the 1993 season with the Texas Rangers. When he finally hung up his glove, the 6-foot-2 flamethrower had a career ERA of 3.19 to complement his record of 324-292. His seven no-hitters stand as the most ever by an MLB pitcher, and his 5714 strikeouts remain at the top of the all-time leaderboard.

In his retirement, Ryan kept himself quite busy. In addition to serving as the CEO of the Texas Rangers from 2008 until 2013, he also served as a special assistant to the Astros.

In 2020, Ryan also opened a boutique butcher shop called GoodStock in Round Rock, Texas. According to their website, the boutique outlet aims to prioritize local meat products as well as products made by local artisans.

"If you buy meat from Nolan Ryan’s Butcher Shop, does that mean you have to cook it on high heat?" - Steve Klauke

We may never see another Nolan Ryan

When Ryan began his career with the New York Mets, few expected him to reach such heights. After 27 years, his ability to log innings and outwork his opponents in the batters' box became very clear.

It's good to see the 76-year-old continuing to do something that he loves.

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