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All Aboard 'The Ryan Express': Film Features Nolan Ryan’s Legendary Fastball

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Nolan Ryan at the Hall of Fame

Nolan Ryan looks over the names and faces of MVPs through the years at the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Nolan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999. (Photo: Utopia)

Devoted fans of Nolan Ryan, one of the best pitchers of all time, will be giddy when they see the new film, Facing Nolan, which releases today on Apple TV, Prime Video, Vudu, and AltaVod. The documentary premiered at SXSW 2022. See the trailer here.

Those not as familiar with Justin Verlander’s idol will be amazed by the tall tales (but true stories) of Ryan's playing days, the unbelievable records he holds, and his loving wife, Ruth, and children, Reid, Reese, and Wendy, who supported his journey.

The other stars of Facing Nolan include pitchers he inspired and MVP hitters who had to face him on the field. These players describe the fear and frustration of trying to hit Ryan’s blazing fastballs, which earned him the nickname “The Ryan Express.” 

Nolan Ryan

When he's not making documentaries, Ryan, 75, maintains a ranch in Texas and would usually rather talk about his grandkids than his achievements. (Photo: Utopia)

Ryan's career began in 1965 when the New York Mets selected the 18-year-old ace pitcher and recent Alvin High School graduate. In 1993, he retired at the age of 46. During his 27-year career, he played with the New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros, and the Texas Rangers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999. His jersey numbers were retired by the Angels (#30), Astros (#34), and Rangers (also #34).

Along the way, Ryan threw seven no-hitters. (See his fifth no-hitter on Sept. 26, 1981 in the Astrodome here.) Sandy Koufax is second with four no-hitters. Ryan is still the all-time strikeouts leader with 5,714. Randy Johnson is second with 839 fewer strikeouts. 

Ruth and Nolan Ryan

Ruth and Nolan Ryan at Game 3 of the 2005 World Series at Minute Maid Park. Read more about Nolan and Ruth here

All aboard The Ryan Express. A living baseball legend and Texas icon who made Alvin and all of Houston proud and continues to do so, both on and off the baseball diamond.

Editor’s note: For more on Nolan Ryan’s life and career, read Pitcher Perfect by Greg Hassell, which was published in The Buzz in December 2005. Ruth Ryan was a contributing writer for The Buzz in 2006. Read her articles here.  

  • Film poster

    Facing Nolan, a documentary about Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, one of the best pitchers of all time, is now streaming. (Poster: Utopia)

  • Ruth Ryan

    “Baseball has always been a huge part of our life. Growing up together in Alvin, I used to watch him play Little League, and my dad was an umpire,” Ruth shared in this 2005 Buzz article. Sweethearts at Alvin High School, Nolan and Ruth married in 1967. Ruth has been a strong influence on Nolan's baseball career and even talked him out of quitting when he was playing for the Mets. On their second date, Nolan took his high school sweetheart and future wife Ruth to see Koufax pitch against the then-Houston Colt 45s at Colt Stadium – before the Astrodome opened in 1965. (Photo: Utopia)

  • Nolan Ryan with family at Hall of Fame

    Nolan Ryan with his family at the Hall of Fame. (Photo: Utopia)

  • Film poster
  • Ruth Ryan
  • Nolan Ryan with family at Hall of Fame

Film poster

Facing Nolan, a documentary about Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, one of the best pitchers of all time, is now streaming. (Poster: Utopia)

Ruth Ryan

“Baseball has always been a huge part of our life. Growing up together in Alvin, I used to watch him play Little League, and my dad was an umpire,” Ruth shared in this 2005 Buzz article. Sweethearts at Alvin High School, Nolan and Ruth married in 1967. Ruth has been a strong influence on Nolan's baseball career and even talked him out of quitting when he was playing for the Mets. On their second date, Nolan took his high school sweetheart and future wife Ruth to see Koufax pitch against the then-Houston Colt 45s at Colt Stadium – before the Astrodome opened in 1965. (Photo: Utopia)

Nolan Ryan with family at Hall of Fame

Nolan Ryan with his family at the Hall of Fame. (Photo: Utopia)

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