Ryan, 25, was dealt to the California Angels on December 10, 1971, along with pitcher Don Rose, catcher Francisco Estrada, and outfielder Leroy Stanton, for shortstop Jim Fregosi (who would later manage Ryan in Anaheim). Before the 1972 season began, the Angels traded Ryan to the Texas Rangers for infielder Ron Fairly.
In his first season with the Rangers, Ryan helped them win the World Series by beating the Boston Red Sox in seven games. He had two hits in the series, including a home run in game six. The next year, he won the MVP award after hitting.295 with 39 homers and 102 RBIs. He ended up winning the Triple Crown winner of wins (46), losses (39), and ERA (1.74).
After his success in Texas, Ryan returned to the Angels in 1975. That year, he finished with three wins and 47 saves while batting.256. He remained with the team until 1980 when he was traded to the New York Yankees for pitchers Mike Jeffries and Doug Henry.
Ryan finished out his career with the Yankees, going 20-10 with a 3.12 ERA in 41 games (one start). He retired after the 1981 season.
Ryan had a 27-year big league career that spanned four decades: 1966, 1968, and 1993. He pitched for the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers, among others. In 1999, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
During his tenure with the Angels, Ryan won two World Series rings (1987, 1989) and helped guide them to the playoffs three times (1977, 1978, 1980). He finished with a record of 95-75 and a 4.13 ERA in 1401 innings pitched.
After leaving the Angels, he joined their broadcasting team as an analyst for Angie's List. He remains with the company as an ambassador and guest commentator throughout the year.
On December 6, 2008, it was announced that the Angels would retire #24 in honor of Nolan Ryan after the season finale against the Oakland Athletics. The Angels lost that game 1-4.
In 2009, Ryan signed on with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a special assistant to the president of baseball operations. He worked with scouting director John Westhoff and other members of the organization on game strategy and analysis. However, he left the team after one season to return to the Angels as a broadcaster.
On November 13, 2010, it was reported that the Angels were considering naming the dugout behind home plate in honor of Ryan.
In 1999, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ryan served as the Texas Rangers' chief executive officer (CEO) as an executive advisor to the Houston Astros after retiring in 1993.
Texas Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan, at 46, couldn't make it out of the first inning in his final start on September 22, 1993. Father Time had finally caught up with him, and his illustrious career had come to an end.
Ryan appeared in one World Series as a smooth-cheeked 22-year-old with the Mets against Baltimore in 1969, during his 27-year career as the best strikeout pitcher in major league history. Ryan's clubs also made the playoffs four times, with the Angels in 1979 and the Houston Astros in 1980, 1981, and 1986.
In Game 1, he pitched a complete game five-hit shutout as his Angels defeated the Orioles, 4-0. In the finale on October 23, he gave up two runs (one homer) in eight innings before leaving with muscle spasms in his right shoulder. The Angels lost, 3-2, and were swept out of the Series for the first time in franchise history.
Ryan finished with 31 wins, 13 losses, and a 3.86 ERA in the '69 Series. He led the American League in strikeouts with 231.
He started another championship campaign with the Angels in 1977, but this time they were defeated by the New York Yankees in seven games.
After his retirement after the 1978 season, Ryan returned to pitch one more season for the Rangers in 1979. He went 16-10 with a 2.56 ERA in 33 starts before retiring for good at the age of 36.
Today, he is considered one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history.
He currently ranks fifth all-time in career victories with 577.