April 19, 2021

The Baseball 100: No. 50, Nolan Ryan (The Athletic)

Starting in December and ending on Opening Day, Joe Posnanski will count down the 100 greatest baseball players by publishing an essay on a player every day for 100 days. In all, this project will contain roughly as many words as “Moby Dick.” Yes, we know it’s nutty. We hope you enjoy.

Nolan Ryan was the greatest pitcher who ever lived. Nolan Ryan was also the most frustrating pitcher who ever lived. Nobody struck out more batters. Nobody walked more batters. Nobody was harder to hit. Nobody so willingly let baserunners steal. Nobody threw more no-hitters. Nobody threw more wild pitches. He was unbeatable. Nobody in modern baseball lost more.

It is as if Ryan is not actually a pitcher but something else entirely — an alien, a cartoon character, a folk hero, a saxophone. Trying to find a place for Ryan on a list like this is a bit like trying to figure out where the Beatles belong on your list of favorite pastas.

Nolan Ryan was a sophomore…

Read “The Baseball 100: No. 50, Nolan Ryan” at The Athletic