It’s been 43 years since Major League Hall of Famer and former Houston Astros ace Nolan Ryan and the greatest Royals player of all-time George Brett said good-bye to baseball. The date was October 3, 1993. This past Thursday, the two shared the stage at the Kings of the Diamond Banquet in San Antonio. An article written by Alyson Footer, a national correspondent for MLB.Com, wove together the intertwining of two careers as seen by the Hall of Famers themselves.
The two were in San Antonio for what has become known as the Big League Weekend at the Alamodome. In addition to a series of games between the Texas Rangers and the World Champion Kansas City Royals, the event in its fourth season is highlighted by the Kings of the Diamond Banquet. This year’s dinner and back-and- forth between the two Hall of Famers was held at the Hyatt Regency on Thursday night in San Antonio.
Moderated by former San Antonio Express-News columnist Richard Oliver, the event pairs Ryan with another former Great such as Hit King Pete Rose in 2015. Interesting facts from this year came from every angle between these two legends of the game.
For example did you know that George Brett is one of only four players with a .300 lifetime batting average, 300 plus home runs and a member of the prestigious 3,000 hit club. Ok, maybe you did know that but did you know that of his 317 home runs not a single blast came off of Nolan Ryan despite the fact that Brett had more at bats against Ryan than any other player. He also had more hits at 29 than any other batter to face the Ryan Express. A more dubious annotation that the one of the most disciplined hitters of all-time at the plate had against the right-hander was the most strikeouts. Dubious but impressive when one thinks about how players today can strike out 18 times in a two week stretch and some more than a 100 times a season. Of those 18 career whiffs against Ryan, one came in his very first at bat against him in 1974 on three pitches.
One more link is that Ryan’s Rangers played Brett’s Royals in the final game in the majors for each of them and on that date October 3, 1993 each of these two brought the line-up card for their respective teams to homeplate.
The link between the two continued when both were selected for induction at Cooperstown in 1999.
For more information about the Kings of the Diamond Banquet, the charities it helps and the Big League Weekend at the Alamodome visit www.bigleagueweekend.com.