When a list of the greatest pitchers of all-time is made one name often appearing is Nolan Ryan. Undeniable stuff which included one of the best fastballs ever, Ryan had career statistics far different from many other of the top pitchers from his era.
Low-Winning Percentage with Low ERA
A winner of 324 games in his career, Ryan still lost an amazing 292 games. His career .526 winning percentage is something we would not expect from one of the all-time greats. Even with the poor win/loss ratio Ryan had an impressive 3.19 ERA through his 27 years pitching. A lot of this had to do with playing for some very poor teams. Throughout his career Ryan only appeared in 9 playoff games, 7 as a starter. In fact, the four teams he played for in his career (New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers) have combined for three World Series victories in history, only the 1969 Mets with Ryan on the roster.
No Cy Young Awards
The king of strikeouts and owner of 7 no-hitters, it’s a bit of a surprise to find out that Ryan never once won a Cy Young Award. The closest he came was in 1973 when he finished second to Jim Palmer. That year Ryan was 21-16 with a 2.87 ERA and 383 strikeouts. Palmer was 22-9 with a 2.40 ERA and 158 strikeouts.
A Walk Machine
Ryan gets the praise he deserves for racking up strikeouts, but does he ever get reprimanded for his unacceptable amount of walks? There’s a reason why Ryan has no perfect game to his name. Control was not his style. In addition to being the all-time leader in strikeouts with 5714 of them, Ryan also walked 2795 batters, which also happens to be more than anyone else. Not until later in his career did Ryan finally cut down on the walks. Several seasons his walks were so out of control he had more base on balls than hits allowed.
Lowest Hits Per 9
Yet a third record Ryan holds is for the lowest amount of hits per 9 innings. Ryan averaged 6.6 hits per 9 innings in his career largely due to how he would consistently trade these hits for walks. Certainly his WHIP was nothing remarkable. For an idea on how he ranks, his career 1.247 WHIP is worse than Doug Drabek and only slightly better than Javier Vazquez.
Throwing a baseball 60 feet and 6 inches as fast as Ryan would, he was bound to throw a few passed the catcher. In his career Ryan threw the second most wild pitches with 277 of them. Thanks largely to playing for nearly three full decades and twice as many seasons as the all-time leader Tony Mullane, Ryan is once again near the top of a category he would have probably liked to avoid being the leader.