Saturday, August 22, 2009

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today...

Nope, not a Sgt. Pepper reference here. But the feat that took place on August 22, 1989 had the crowd screaming as loudly as they would have done at a Beatles concert. I'm talking about Nolan Ryan's 5000th strikeout, which happened before the home Texas Rangers crowd in Arlington.

The Dallas Morning News' Texas Rangers Blog posts a video of the big event, and asks the question, "Were you there?" You bet I was:
I sure was there--[...]we had a group of about six. (For us, it was especially sweet that Rickey Henderson was the victim; contrast the arrogant remarks he made when he broke Lou Brock's base-stealing record with the always-humble comments of Ryan, who deflected the bulk of the credit to his teammates.)

Somewhere in my personal archvies, I still have that commemorative certificate that the team passed out a week or so later; it included a slot in which you could insert your ticket stub.

The interesting thing about Rangers games in the days when Ryan was pitching was that you tended to time your ticket purchases for the games in which he was expected to start, because you never knew what might happen. Most of Nolan's starts sold out, whereas the attendance at some other games was average at best, depending on how hot it was outside.
Since I didn't get to see one of Ryan's two no-hitters as a Ranger, and his 300th win came on the road (though my sister and I paid way too much money for nosebleed seats--it might have actually been Row Z--to try and watch him win it a week earlier), this night stands out as my personal highlight among several great years of watching, as I described Ryan at the time, an artist at the height of his craft. (A link to the DMN story from the morning after the game may be found here.)

It's great to see Ryan back with the Rangers as team president, and I'd like to think that his work behind the scenes is playing a small but important part in the team's success this season.

What is your favorite sports memory, from any point in your life?

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