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The 100 Greatest Angels: # 2 Nolan Ryan

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#2 Nolan Ryan, RH SP

Career Stats

Think about it for a minute or two.

Nolan Ryan was the Angels for the 1970s.

Can you think of another player who, had he not been an Angel, that the franchise itself might have folded or moved?

Nolan Ryan carried the team for almost a decade. Easily the greatest baseball player so far to ever wear the Angels uniform, he sustained the fan base and the media attention in an otherwise empty decade.

He singlehandedly separated the team from the bottom two-thirds of the majors simply by showing up.

He was the first superstar. Only Vlad and Reggie come close to the electric greatness his very presence on the team meant.

Nolan Ryan's Single Season Angel Records:

22 Wins in 1974 (tied with Clyde Wright)

Fewest Hits Per 9IP:
5.26 in 1972

10.57 K/9 in 1973

332.2 IP in 1974

383 Ks in 1973
the all time Major League mark

41 Games Started in 1974

26 complete games in 1973

Of course, among the Single season leader boards, his name is speckled amidst all of these categories for many seasons, as well as being edged out for the leadership in a category by a player who se name only appears that once, while Ryan has as many as 7 of the Top Ten records in said category.

As far as leading the franchise, Ryan still holds some impressive records.
Nolan Ryan's Angel Franchise Records:

156 complete games
next closest, Frank Tanana with 92

40 Shutouts
next closest, Tanana with 24

2,416 strikeouts
Chuck Finley had 2,151 and Mike Witt had the 3rd most with 1,283

And these are just the categories in which Ryan holds the lead - he is all over the leaderboards in counting stats as well as averaged-out numbers.

The only thing bad about the guy that can be said is that he is not wearing an Angels cap in Cooperstown.