Nolan Ryan

Today in Performance Sneaker History: Nolan Ryan Wins 324th and Final Game in Nike Cleats

On August 15, 1993, one of the greatest baseball pitchers of all time picked up his final win. As the Texas Rangers defeated the Cleveland Indians 4-1, Nolan Ryan won the 324th game of his career. The Ryan Express allowed just two hits and one run on the night, and his 324 wins rank as the 14th best of all time.

After a record 27-year career in the pros, Ryan had already announced plans to retire at the end of the 1993 season. Unfortunately, shortly after his triumphant 324th win, Nolan Ryan’s career was cut short sooner than he expected. On September 22, 1993, in a game against the Seattle Mariners, Ryan tore a ligament in his throwing arm.

Attempting to play through the pain, Ryan hurled one more pitch—a blazing 98 mile per hour fastball. But the injury was serious, and Ryan left the game after posting the worst start of his career by allowing a single, four walks, and a grand slam. This effectively ended Ryan’s unheard of 27-year career in the MLB. Since his retirement, two of his records have remained in place: most career no-hitters (7) and most career strikeouts with a colossal 5,714.

Early in his career, Nolan Ryan wore adidas cleats on occasion, but eventually became a full-time Nike guy. From his memorable trainer endorsements to western-themed ad campaign, Ryan was one of Nike’s biggest marketing draws during the ’80s and ’90s. If you ever get a chance to tour the Nike Campus in Beaverton, you’ll even find a building named in his honor.

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