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A Baseball Life for a Baseball Wife
Updated: Wednesday, July 31 2013, 10:40 PM CDT
Wednesday, the Round Rock Express hosted Baseball 101 for Ladies.
Part of the program included a Q&A session with women of baseball. Ruth Ryan, wife of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, was a panelist. Good call. Because she's been in the game longer than one third Major League teams have been in existence.
"It's been my life and it's been Nolan's life probably since I was 16 years old," Ruth recalled.
But even she had questions when she first met Nolan.
"I didn't know what a baseball draft was," admitted Ruth. I thought he meant the Army because it was during the Vietnam war."
Ruth told us her fondest memory of Nolan's 27 year career came in 1973. Months after having no money and no options, Ryan threw his first no-hitter.
"There was a baseball strike [in 1972] and we ran out of money," said Ruth. "We were ready to leave and go back to Texas. So I said, 'Maybe we can stick it out another week?'. Then the strike was over and he started pitching pretty well."
Ruth married Nolan in 1967 and has been by his side ever since. But in May of this year, she had to pick a side. That's when her oldest son Reid took over as president of the Houston Astros. Nolan, of course, is CEO of the Rangers.
"I actually root for both teams," shared Ruth.
It was a switch for Reid's wife Nicole, too. But she says going from the Astros to the Rangers was more of a change-up than a curve ball, as history made the present much easier.
"When we first started here [Round Rock], we [Express] were an Astros affiliate for a long time," said Nicole. "Also, Nolan was working with the Astros at the time. It still feels like a natural fit."
Both father and son have stayed in the game long after their playing days ended, and made an impact on more than one franchise. And even though Nolan missed out on that other draft, Ruth and Nicole still have some "war stories" to share.
by Adam Winkler