Love Letters From Pronk is an ongoing series where Pronk shares his love for somebody connected to the Cubs. Sometimes funny, sometimes weird, Pronk likes to make 100% sure people know that they are loved, and best expresses that through gushing letters. Today's pick: Nolan Ryan
This week, I was reminded of the anniversary of my all time favorite baseball fight. Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura. Why is it my favorite? Because rarely are fights such a mismatch. This fight is completely one sided as Ryan pounds Ventura in the head over and over. It's hilarious to see a young Ventura get completely handled by someone 20 years older than him.
Nolan Ryan would go on to do other amazing feats in his baseball career. Most strikeouts of all time, over 300 wins. The lowest hits per 9 of all time (6.6). No Cy Young awards, and 8 all star appearances. A ton of losses, the most walks of all time and 7 no hitters. His career was such an anomaly. It might not have been the prettiest picture, but it was always one I'd love to stop and learn about.
You are one of my favorite pitchers of all time. Despite the fact that you retired long before I ever watched baseball, I discovered and fell in love with your body of work. There is something very special about a pitcher who lasts long enough to pitch in four different decades. You were good enough to start at age 21 and go until age 46. Maintaining the heat the entire time. Wow.
I appreciated the consistent way you threw. Always hard, always constant. You didn't win every game, but you you were always pushing the for the best. Hitters couldn't touch you, hardly ever. You might not have been the best overall pitcher of all time, but your sheer unhittability will never be matched. Somehow, you owned both the all time records for strikeouts and walks. And when I say owned, I mean OWNED. You had nearly 1,000 more than second place on both statistics.
There are many fun trivia tidbits from your career that are entertaining to think over. My favorite is the 7 no hitters. Nearly double Koufax's 4 that are second place. How in the world does someone nearly double second best? Seeing Jake Arrieta throw 2 no hitters was a feat of skill I can't imagine I'll see again. I have no idea how 7 happened.
You became a person who embodies the spirit of Texas. The results were typically great, and there might have been a long and winding road to get there. But you did get there, more often than not. Bumps in the road never stopped you. Bumps in the road don't stop the old school spirit of Texas. That relentless spirit is something that's guided me throughout my life, and inspired me to try my best.
Bonus footage: Jomboy did analyze this fight