The top three names in this list were absolutely the toughest to roll out in terms of who should fall at No. 1, but I personally believe Nolan Ryan deserves that nod.
Ryan, drafted by the New York Mets in the 12th round of the 1965 amateur draft, made his MLB debut on Sept. 11, 1966.
Nicknamed the “Ryan Express,” the All-Star pitcher spent 27 seasons in the majors and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
Spending time with the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, and Mets, Ryan garnered a career 3.19 ERA with 5,714 strikeouts (going 324-292 during that span).
The all-time leader in no-hitters with seven to his name, Ryan was an eight-time All-Star—appearing in his final game in the majors on Sept. 22, 1993 as a member of the Rangers.
Currently the president and partial owner of the Texas Rangers, Ryan is also the principal owner of the Round Rock Express—Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate (he also owns the Corpus Christi Hooks, Houston’s Double-A affiliate).
Not to mention Nolan Ryan Beef (and the fact he can fight—just ask Robin Ventura).
The Ryan Express is still chugging along, and the Hall of Fame pitcher is an all-around star: not only for his love of the game, but also for what he brings to baseball, fans, and the lives of those he touches both on and off the field of play.
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org