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Nolan Ryan Married His High School Sweetheart Over 50 Years Ago
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Arguably the most impressive thing about Nolan Ryan‘s MLB career is its longevity.

Across a staggering 27 years in the major leagues, The Ryan Express tossed more than 5,300 innings and played in a remarkable 807 games.

Throughout his entire career, which spanned across four separate decades, Ryan had the support of his wife Ruth Holdorff, who was his high school sweetheart.

Nolan Ryan’s Wife

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Lynn Nolan Ryan Jr. and Ruth Ryan were high school sweethearts at Alvin High School near Houston, Texas. Nolan grew up in Refugio County until he moved to Alvin, where his father worked for the Houston Post.

Nolan and Ruth reportedly started dating when he was just 15 and she was 13, and the couple got married in 1967, when Nolan was 20 and Ruth was just 18. They have shared more than 50 years of marriage and have three children together, sons Reese and Reid and daughter Wendy.

Reid Ryan was the President of Baseball Operations for the Houston Astros, while Reese Ryan worked as CEO for Ryan Sanders Baseball, which has an ownership stake in the Astros’ minor league affiliate, the Round Rock Express. Reid now runs Ryan Sanders Baseball again and Reese is focused on other family businesses.

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Ruth is a self-described baseball wife, who actually coached her children’s Little League teams while Nolan was busy making his living in The Show.

Currently, Ruth and Nolan reside together near Austin and are enjoying retired life.

MLB Career

Nolan Ryan debuted in MLB for the New York Mets in 1966 and pitched his first full season two years later having missed the 1967 campaign due to an illness and serving in the Army Reserve.

Ryan would spend four years with the Mets, winning the 1969 World Series with stars like Tom Seaver and earning a save against the Baltimore Orioles. He would join the California Angels in 1972 where he’d truly emerge as a star, getting the opportunity to be an everyday rotation member for the first time in his career.

Across eight seasons with the Angels, Ryan made five American League All-Star teams and recorded five seasons with over 300 strikeouts. In 1973, Ryan finished second in Cy Young voting after fanning a career-high 383 batters and logging a 2.87 ERA.

Ryan joined the Houston Astros as a free agent in 1980 and spent nine seasons there, making two National League All-Star appearances and continuing to pound his devastating fastball past hitters into his late thirties. Ryan made the move to the Texas Rangers in 1989 and played his last five seasons with the club.

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Across his 27-year career, The Ryan Express amassed 324 wins and 292 losses, boasted a Major League record 5,714 career strikeouts and walked 2,795, which is also the most in Major League Baseball history.

Ryan surrendered 321 home runs in his career, maintained a stellar 3.19 ERA, and threw seven no-hitters, including gems against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics.

The hard-throwing right-hander featured in just nine playoff games throughout his esteemed career, and never made it back to the World Series after his stint with the Mets.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.

MORE: Nolan Ryan Took Bo Jackson?s Liner to the Face, But He Kept Pitching

Karl Rasmussen is a sports writer living in Brooklyn, NY. He studied journalism at the University of Oregon and is an avid fan of the Oregon Ducks, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Yankees and New York Jets.
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