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The Big Five with … Rangers president/owner Nolan Ryan

Oct 30, 2010, 7:22 PM EDT

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 ARLINGTON, Texas — In the place where they do everything bigger, there is nobody bigger than Nolan Ryan. So for the first World Series home game in Texas Rangers history, who better to take on The Big Five?

Is there anybody you played either with or against who you think compares to Josh Hamilton?

“Not played with. That period of time he put together before he got hurt (in May) was as impressive a stretch as I ever saw from a hitter. And not just hitting, but the way he played the outfield, played the entire game. Watching him day-in, day-out you realize how special he is. You just don’t see many players like that. The first time I saw Josh and appreciated how talented he was, he reminded me of Cesar Cedeno, and how talented he was. But Josh has more power than Cesar did.”

What does this World Series appearance do for the future of the Rangers franchise?

“I was watching Jay Leno the other night, and he was talking about the World Series and the Texas Rangers, and I thought, ‘gosh that sounds strange.’  I think this puts us on the map with a lot of people. One thing I’ve seen is how much Texas Rangers memorabilia people around the country are wearing. Our fans didn’t even wear it to the ballpark when I came here in 2008.”

Is there a feeling that the team has arrrived?

“You can never have a comfort level. You have to be very flexible, and always anticipate the worst thing that can happen. We hustled all year for catching, all year for a utilityman, and we’re always looking for pitching. So we’re not going to take the attitude that just because we got to the World Series, we don’t have to be diligent about what we’re going to do. We need to be even more aggressive to fill any hole we think we may have.”

Your only other World Series appearance was as a player with the 1969 New York Mets. What has that long period in between taught you?

“My perspective sitting here today as opposed to a 22-year-old with New York is totally different. That was a very magical year for us. It came together the last six weeks of the season, when the Cubs went into a tailspin and we started getting hot. Did we think we were going to win a world championship? I don’t think anybody on our team thought that. My goal was to be a starter on a championship team. I got close a couple of times, but it never happened. The longer my career goes, the more I realize how hard and unique it is to get there. I’m much more appreciative today than as a 22-year-old.”

Talk about your relationship with general manager Jon Daniels, who is half your age.

“He and I have different perspectives. But I think that’s one reason why we get along. We end up reaching the same conclusion when we’re talking about making changes. He voices his opinion and I voice mine, and they complement each other. I believe experience is a great teacher. With me on our pitchers, I think I see things a lot of people don’t because they didn’t stand on that mound and experience all the different things I did in my career.”

Editor’s note: Tony DeMarco is a contributor to NBCSports.com who has been covering the big leagues since 1987. He’ll interview a guest during each day of the World Series for HardballTalk.com.

  1. willmose - Oct 31, 2010 at 6:34 PM

    When is Ryan going to come clean about his PED usage?

    • txnative61 - Nov 1, 2010 at 5:11 AM

      You’re kidding, —-right??? The drugs being—natural testosterone and adrenaline? Considering his longevity, if he did use PED’s it would encourage rather than discourage use, and was probably legal in his era.

      • willmose - Nov 1, 2010 at 9:41 AM

        He used bennies for sure. And, of course, he was associated with the Rangers when steroids were used regularly. He HAD to know and said nothing. Many players are accussed of being juicers because of their numbers and nothing else. Pitching well into his 40s with nearly 100 mph stuff. Come on, was it his God given ability, great training, or a little help from chemistry?

        Anyway, everyone in baseball needs to come clean about their use of PEDs. BTW, bennies were very illegal during his era.

  2. txnative61 - Nov 2, 2010 at 8:33 AM

    First Mr Ryan “Came clean” about his career in his several books, which outlined and pioneered year round training methods, analysis of his pitching motion, velocity, control, and, I think drug use in Baseball. “Nolan Ryan’s Pitcher’s Bible” has been widely used and credited by several, if not many, star pitchers as the for their success. So assuming your premise correct, he said “yeah, I took bennies, and joined the juicers to extend my career at the Rangers”. as you seem to be saying, to what end does he “need to come clean”? Hey kids! You too can have a Hall of Fame career, and become wealthy enough to buy your team!! All with one easy step! Is he accused of a crime? “Used bennies for sure”? Some questions should not be asked, but if they were, I cannot think of anyone more likely to answer truthfully. It would not be good for baseball, simply because many kids would not believe him after so many have lied.

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