Thursday, May 20, 2004

Ryan Express – Train of Fools

You may remember sometime back, Major League Baseball pulled a promotional stunt called “The All Century Team”. This was basically, the fans voting on who they thought were the best players of all time at each position. Well, the results showed how much the average fan knows and well, they know little. The most telling item of their folly was Nolan Ryan being voted as the best pitcher of all time.

Ridiculous.

Now the case against Ryan is strong. His walk totals, failures in the post season, never won a Cy Young award, etc. The case for him is like Swiss cheese (it has holes in it and it stinks). The strikeouts are impressive, but does the fact that he is the all time leader in strikeouts (and walks) really make him the best pitcher of all time? Would you call Bert Blyleven the 5th best pitcher of all time? He threw 7 no hitters. Impressive, but even Dick Bosman threw a no hitter. I would say Ryan belongs in the vicinity of number 40, somewhere near Bert Blyleven and Don Sutton, on the “All Century Team”.

So instead of quoting the facts of Ryan’s mediocrity (only 2 20 win seasons, all time leader in walks, 3rd all time in losses, etc.) ad nauseam, I will recollect one game in which he showed his true colors.

The date is October 12, 1980. The place is the Astrodome. In the final game of the National League Championship Series, where the winner wins the NL flag and the loser goes home, Ryan showed his true colors.

The score was 2-2. In the bottom of the seventh, Ryan’s Astros plated 3 runs giving them a 5-2 lead and the NL Championship in their sights. All they needed were six outs. The top of the eighth opens with the fans choice for greatest pitcher of all time on the hill, and the rest is history…..

Ryan gave up three hits and a walk to the only four batters he faced that inning. All 4 runners scored and the Phillies went on to win the World Series.

3 comments:

CRAIG said...

Nice post, T, but you fail to offer your own choice. Perhaps you can post your choices for the entire "All Century" Team? If I knew more about sports I'd offer my own, but since I don't I could only suggest players with cool mustaches or sideburns.

T-_Bone said...

Well sideburns are OK by me. I think you'll relate more to my next post

Sweetie Guy Hutchinson said...

Rollie Fingers had the greatest baseball mustache of all time.

Oil Can Boyd had the best nickname of all time.

I will vote for them. When is the election? Is there cake afterwards?