On May 15, 1973, Nolan Ryan pitched the first no-hitter of his career in Major League Baseball. As far as Nolan Ryan no-hitters would go, it was a relatively pedestrian effort, with a mere 12 strikeouts, although there were no hard-hit balls against the Angels right-hander until the final couple of innings, including the final out, a fly ball to the warning track.
The opposing Royals, however, understood this was no ordinary no-hitter from an ordinary pitcher.
“He’s throwing the ball harder than any man I ever saw in my life,” first baseman John Mayberry said.
“If they had a higher league, he could be in it,” outfielder Hal McRae said.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect to the no-hitter was that Royals manager Jack McKeon had protested the game in the third inning, arguing that Ryan was illegally lifting his foot off the pitching rubber during his delivery.
Ryan himself seemed rather unimpressed with the whole affair, saying his biggest thrill in baseball remained pitching in the World Series for the Mets in 1969. “I never honestly felt I was the type of pitcher to pitch a no-hitter,” Ryan suggested after the game. He said his fastball doesn’t really have that late movement like…