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Today in Sports History: 5/15 – Nolan Ryan Pitches First No-Hitter

Today in sports history (1973), California Angels pitcher Nolan Ryan hurled the first no-hitter of his storied career. Ryan entered the MLB with the New York Mets in 1966. When he entered the league, many knew of his blazing fastball and devastating curveball. Though his control was a concern, many teams liked the idea of a starting pitcher who could vary from 100 MPH to 80 MPH.

Few experts expected that it would take Ryan five years to throw a no-hitter. In his first start of the 1970 season with the Mets, Ryan threw a one-hitter with 15 strikeouts.

Nolan Ryan Today in Sports History
Credit: baseballhall.org

Nolan Ryan Tosses No-Hitter Against Kansas City

Ryan opened up the 1973 season struggling to find his control. In his second-to-last start, Ryan walked seven batters in 6.67 innings. In his last appearance, he only threw 17 pitches, resulting in five runs and only recording one out.

In this game against Kansas City, the Angels came out swinging. With a catalyst starting from a Vada Pinson single, the Angels put up two runs in the first inning. The Angels recorded another eight hits in the game, all but one were singles. The problem for Kansas City though was that the one hit that wasn’t a single was a home run from Bob Oliver.

The rest of the story was Nolan Ryan. After opening the game with a strikeout, Ryan walked Steve Hovley, who ended Ryan’s no-hitter in the previous season. Ryan got out of the inning, striking out the next two batters. Ryan continued to blow through the Royals lineup. This was all the more impressive because, as it turned out, the Royals were the second-highest scoring team in the 1973 season.

With two outs in the eighth inning, Ryan walked Paul Schaal. Angels shortstop Rudy Meoli was making his 10th career start when a lazy pop fly was hit to the shallow left after the walk. Meoli went over the astroturf to make an acrobatic over-the-shoulder catch, getting Ryan out of the inning and preserving the no-hitter.

Ryan finished the game throwing 132 pitches. 80 of the pitches were strikes and the game only lasted two hours and 20 minutes.


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