Nolan Ryan is in the Hall of Fame. He's also 60 now, and walks with a limp. That being said, if he were offered a contract along the terms of those given to Roger Clemens last week, he'd be down.
"If I can pitch, I'd be there," Ryan said, smiling wide. "And I think my family would encourage me."
Yeah, of course they would. Ryan was one of baseball's top earners in his time, and was the first player in the league to earn a $1 million annual salary during the 1980 season. But just to show how little inflation there was in baseball during that time, Ryan's annual salary peaked at $4.2 million during his final season 13 years later. For comparison, the Rocket will make around that sum for each month he'll pitch this season. Whose family wouldn't mind seeing dad take off for a few months to bring in the big bucks? After having him around the house for 14 years, I bet his wife wouldn't.
Ryan gave big props to Clemens, and his ability to make it through all these seasons:
"He's one of those really unique guys," said Ryan, the only pitcher with more strikeouts than Clemens. "The aging process hasn't affected him as early as it has some other people and he's kept himself in great condition. He's a great competitor and he knows his body, so there's an awful lot of plusses."
Ryan should know - he continually broke down as his career wrapped up, and his innings-pitched went down each of his last four seasons.
But maybe Ryan has something left in him? At 60, couldn't he bring the heat for an inning or so every few days? He'd fill seats, and maybe even be successful. After watching the Reds bullpen implode the last two nights, maybe they'd find a spot for him? We all know he'd at least defend his team, and the mound should someone try to pull a Robin Ventura on him...