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Ryan makes another big pitch in Texas

Ryan makes another big pitch

HOUSTON -- Nolan Ryan unleashed another historic pitch Tuesday, one of the biggest of his Hall of Fame career and among the most significant in the history of sports in the state of Texas.

Ryan, who starred for the Astros (1980-1988) and the Texas Rangers (1989-1993), threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the 2005 World Series to a standing ovation at Minute Maid Park.

Not surprisingly, it was a strike.

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"The fact that we're in Houston and it's the first time for Texas, it's so exciting to see the fans enthusiastic and excited about it," Ryan said. "Another perspective is that so many of these players that are on the Astros team came through Round Rock, so I have watched them develop. Now seeing them play in the World Series and seeing the contribution is special."

Ryan, who is from nearby Alvin, Texas, and currently serves as a special assistant to Astros general manager Tim Purpura, is baseball's all-time strikeout leader with 5,714 punchouts. He won 324 games, threw seven no-hitters and 12 one-hitters during his 27-year career. He is the owner of Houston's Triple-A affiliate, the Round Rock Express.

The eight-time All-Star struck out a single-season record 383 batters in 1973. He retired from the game in 1993 with 53 Major League pitching records.

"Obviously, it's different than being a player and being in uniform, but it is very satisfying to know that you are part of the organization when you see what is being accomplished," Ryan said. "So many of the players have been in the organization so long. There are so many local connections. It generates so much interest in the community and adds another dimension you would not normally have."

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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