Recently, Sneaker Report has highlighted some of legendary pitcher Nolan Ryan’s defining moments, including his 300th and 324th wins, but today’s moment in performance sneaker history may eclipse them all. On August 22, 1989, Ryan made history by becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to record 5,000 strikeouts.
Ryan, who had just joined the Texas Ranger earlier in the season, faced off against Rickey Henderson of the Oakland Athletics in the top of the fifth inning. After filling the count at 3-2, Henderson hit two fouls before striking out on a 96 mile per hour fastball, giving Ryan his 5,000th strikeout. Afterwards, Henderson spoke with the New York Times and said that, ”It was an honor to be the 5,000th. As Davey Lopes says, ‘If he ain’t struck you out, you ain’t nobody.'”
Today, Ryan stands with the most strikeouts of all time at a whopping 5,714. And still, his mark of surpassing 5,000 has yet to be matched; the closest player is Randy Johnson, who retired in 2010, with 4,875.
For this historic moment, Ryan wore a pair of black-and-white Nike cleats, a style he favored throughout this period of his record-setting career. While you won’t be able to pick up this exact style, you can shop Nike’s current baseball cleat selection here.