The Mets knew early there was something special about Nolan Ryan, he with the electric arm that threw thunderbolts that sizzled.
On this date in 1968, Ryan established a then club record by striking out 14 Cincinnati Reds. “I threw nothing but fastballs the last two innings,’’ said Ryan, then 21.
Ryan pitched in parts of five seasons with the Mets and compiled a non-descript 29-38 record with a respectable 3.43 ERA.
Ryan’s stay in New York was interrupted with stints in the National Guard, wildness, and blisters that required soaking his fingers in cups of pickle brine.
Above all Ryan never felt comfortable in New York, and the Mets, weighing all this and in need of a third baseman, dealt him to the Angels prior to the 1972 season.
The Mets were to receive All-Star shortstop Jim Fregosi, who was at the end of his career and would be shifting to third base. The trade sounded good in theory at the time, but a 27-year Hall of Fame career said the Mets clearly lost this deal.
However, the Angels let him get away, too, to Houston and then the Texas Rangers. When it was all over, Ryan had thrown seven no-hitters.