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I just don't get it!

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This is probably going to offend most people, but it needs to be saidÖ
Whatís all the hype about Nolan Ryan and his Ďlegendí status? Sure, 5000+ strikeouts and 300 career wins, but a legend? I just donít see it. Please, explain to me how on any list of the 5 best pitchers of all-time, Ryan keeps showing up? I just donít get it.
The stats donít lie:
His 324-292 record is nothing more than average, as his .526 winning percentage is 516th all-time and worst among the 24 members of the 300 win club. Even Robin Roberts has a better win percentage than Ryan, which puts it in perspective considering Robertís biggest obstacle in getting into the Hall of Fame was his Ďaverageí record.
Ryan also walked an alarming 2,795 batters in his career, most all-time. Most all-time by a long shot. Steve Carlton is second with only 1,833 walks, a difference of 962. Ryan also lead the league in walks 8 different times, also a record. Also consider his 277 wild pitches, also a record. Ryan also led the league in walks and hit per 9 innings pitched (WHIP) a record 13 times. Thatís a lot of records people donít like to talk about.
There were the 8 All-Star selections, but even thatís not all that impressive considering he played 27 seasons. And above everything else, zero Cy Young awards. Iím not saying that a Cy Young Award needs to be won for a pitcher to have a very productive career (see Mike Mussina), but that also means that he was never the best pitcher in the league, not even once.
Ryan also gave up 3923 hits (42nd All-time), 1911 earned runs (4th) and 321 homers (34th), but since Iím a sensible guy, weíll chalk that up to sticking around for so long.
Which leads us back to the one stat that will always define Ryan, his record 5,714 strikeouts, a record many believe will never be broken. Thatís a lot of strikeouts, no doubt. Second on the list is Randy Johnson, with 4869, who is still 845 behind the strikeout king. But consider this: Ryanís 9.5 strikeouts per 9 innings is 4th all-time behind leader Randy Johnson (10.6 K/9). So with this in mind, and taking into consideration that Johnson has pitched in 204 less games, itís safe to say that if Johnson could be challenging Ryanís record if he had pitched in more games.
So when Ryan was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1999 with 98.8% of the vote, I canít help but ask how thatís possible. Thatís a better percentage than Bob Gibson, Warren Spahn and Jim Palmer. His numbers are Hall of Fame worthy, donít get me wrong, but not first-ballot HOF worthy. And all this talk of him being a legend is ridiculous. Ryan was one heck of a good strikeout pitcher, but other than that he was a very mediocre pitcher. The stats donít lie.
Please, explain to me what you think. I know there must be a few people out there who agree with me, at least a little bit.
*Disclaimer: I will agree that the Veterans Committee has turned the HOF into a joke. Thatís why members voted in by the BWAA have greater legendary pull. Iím not here to argue those that are voted in the HOF, Iím just here to argue how/why Ryan is considered such a legend. So please, argue about this point only.
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  1. hobbyfan's Avatar
    Can you think of anyone else who's thrown 7 no-hitters? Of course not. In this day and age, no one's going to touch that with a 10 foot pole. The 7 no-no's are the tentpole that allowed Ryan to be a 1st ballot election to the Hall.