16 years ago, but seems like just yesterday. Nolan Ryan, one of the most incredible athletes that Texas has ever produced, was on the mound for the Texas Rangers. Robin Ventura of the Chicago White Sox was up to bat. Nolan fired a pitch at Robin that nicked him in the ribs. Robin initially started for first base, then changed directions and sprinted toward the pitcher’s mound and a man many thought past his prime at age 46.
At this point in his career, Nolan Ryan was already a pitching legend. 7 no-hitters and more strike-outs than any other pitcher in baseball history was paving the way to Cooperstown for the native of Refugio, Texas. But on this day, he became a Texas hero!
As Ventura arrived at the pitcher’s mound, Nolan grabbed him in a headlock and began pummeling him mercilessly until the two were separated by Texas catcher Pudge Rodriguez. Ventura was ejected from the game for charging the mound, but Nolan remained in the game and pitched hitless ball for the rest of his appearance on the mound.
Don’t mess with Big Tex!