Thursday, July 19, 2018

Review of "Nolan Ryan: Fireballer," by Bill Libby

Review of
Nolan Ryan: Fireballer, by Bill Libby

Five out of five stars
 Copyrighted in 1975, this book covers only the early years of Nolan Ryan’s career as a  major league pitcher. Arguably the possessor of the best fastball in history, Ryan was wild early in his career, walking a lot of batters. It seems certain that he is and will remain the all-time leader in taking batters to a 3-2 count. He threw his last pitch in 1993, more than a decade after it was clear that he would be in the baseball Hall of Fame. In his last year at the age of 46, opposing batters only hit .220 against him. An astounding statistic when you know that he was a fastball pitcher.
 Ryan’s first years in the majors were a time when he showed great promise but also exhibited many weaknesses. There were legitimate reasons to believe that he would never be a star pitcher, for he would be unhittable in one game and then unable to get a batter out in the next. Libby does an excellent job in explaining these circumstances and why it took some time before he settled down and came close to being a reliable pitcher. His lifetime won-loss record of 324-292 shows how erratic he was.
 This is a good book as an initial biography of a pitcher that was so powerful that when he was on, even Hall of Fame caliber hitters were helpless against him. While it does not tell the whole story of Ryan’s career, it explains the early years when he struggled and then won twenty games for two consecutive years and never did so again.  

No comments:

Post a Comment