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Nolan Ryan Says Military Impacted his Mets Development

By Mike Silva ~ March 16th, 2012. Filed under: NY Baseball Memories.

The gang over at the Kult of Mets Personalities scored a great guest, Hall of Famer and current owner of the Texas Rangers, Nolan Ryan.

Of course, we all know that Ryan started his career with the Mets. In five seasons he was 29-38 with a 3.58 ERA. The deal that sent Ryan to California for Jim Fregosi is undoubtedly the worst trade in franchise history.

So what did the Mets do wrong? Nothing, as it was more a unfortunate circumstance. Ryan revealed during the podcast that his struggles were due to the Vietnam War. Ryan was in a “top priority reserve unit in Houston,” and was called to duty every other weekend. If his turn in the rotation came up, he was skipped, thus not allowing him the consistent reps necessary at that point in his development.

After the trade to Anaheim, he served his six years and was discharged, giving him the opportunity to pitch every five days without interruption.

Looking back, for as good as Ryan was, his walk rate was consistently over 4 per/9. You have to think that contributed to a career that produced 324 wins, but also 292 losses.

To listen to the entire podcast (which also includes former Mets pitcher Kris Benson) download the replay here. Ryan appears during the first 15 minutes.

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9 Responses to Nolan Ryan Says Military Impacted his Mets Development

  1. Stu B

    What the Mets did wrong was to underestimate Ryan’s potential and overestimate their need for another third baseman instead of Wayne Garrett. This was one of the main reasons Whitey Herzog left the organization. They made the same mistake 2 years earlier in trading Amos Otis for Joe Foy.

  2. Nik

    What shocks me is that they knew he was done with the service and they’d be able to see him every 5th day… why trade him without seeing what he could do?

  3. Luis

    In 1971, the Mets had Seaver, Kossman, Gentry, Matlack, McAndrew-Ryan did not have enough control to warrant being given a consistent spot in the rotation in an era when the Mets thought they would contend on a yearly basis. Of course Gentry got hurt and was traded to Atl, McAndrew won 15 games in 1972 and then got hurt(Rotator?), Matlack was ROY in 72. Of course the Mets gave up 3 OTHER players for a washed up Fregosi….

  4. Don

    I never realized that he was in the reserves. It makes sense that the lost reps stunted his development. We should all be glad that he crossed paths with Tom House, and started his impressive baseball workouts regimen. Getting to watch the Ryan Express still getting it done in his mid 40′s will always be one of my favorite memories.

  5. Stu B

    Gentry got hurt after he was traded to Atlanta.

  6. Nik

    Luis.. he was in the rotation already; only skipped when the reserve duty came up. Look at the 1st half of 1971 when he was able to string some consistency together. Jim McAndrew couldn’t throw 100… the issue was something else. Ryan never wanted to leave…

    Stu.. he got hurt in NY, went to Atlanta and couldn’t get it back, finally came back to the Mets and was toast. Listen to him speak about it here http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ivieleagueproductions/2011/09/09/the-kult-of-mets-personalities

  7. Stu B

    I think I read that the Angels asked the Mets to include their choice of Gentry or Ryan iin the trade, and the Mets chose Ryan.

  8. tnt

    also not mentioned is that ryans wife didnt like ny either.seaver said this on many tv occasions and i know it as well from the old gil hodges owner(the one who owned it with hodges)

  9. tnt

    sorry old gil hodges bowling alley

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