Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nolan Ryan: more on possible steroid use.

Roger Clemens has been indicted and arraigned for lieing under oath about using steroids or human growth hormones. His role model was Nolan Ryan.  See my post:

Tiger Stadium 1990
Chuck Andersen derivative work
via Wikimedia Commons


MLB should allow performance enhancing stuff.

Plus, pitchers have been shown to be as inclined to use banned stuff as batters. No one seems concerned about strike out records. Roger Clemens (4,672) and Randy Johnson (4,819) have been implicated. Their career strike out records are exceeded only by Nolan Ryan's unreachable total of 5,714. How come no one challenges Nolan Ryan? He played long enough to have used steroids. His longevity is suspicious. Jose Canseco has admitted using steriods during his MVP season of 1988. Ryan played from 1966 through 1993 (age 46). Ryan and Canseco were even teammates in Texas for 22 games in 1992 and for 60 games in 1993. Ryan's final seasons leading the league in strike outs were at the ages of 40, 41, 42, 43. His previous age as league strike out leader was 32. Ryan went seven years without being strike out king until he recovered the touch in 1987 at age 40. Ryan pitched a record seven no hitters at these ages: 26, 26, 27, 28, 34, 43, 44. This anecdotal evidence is completely ignored. Did Nolan Ryan use banned and/or illegal stuff to enhance his performance? I have no idea but I find it odd that the steroid zealots have such narrow vision.

300 SO, sorted by age. 20 of 33 under age 30. Only three guys over age 31: Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling. Ryan was 42!

Ryan last had 10 SO per 9 innings in 1978 at age 31 in AL. Then at 40 in NL Ryan had his career high: 11.5! 270 SO in 211 innings. Second best in Ryan's career: 11.3 at age 42 with 301 SO ... in the AL with a DH!

And after all these years I'm the only one who has noticed?

Rk Player SO SO/9 Year Age ▾ Tm
1 Nolan Ryan 301 11.32 1989 42 TEX
2 Randy Johnson 334 11.56 2002 38 ARI
3 Randy Johnson 372 13.41 2001 37 ARI
4 Randy Johnson 347 12.56 2000 36 ARI
5 Curt Schilling 316 10.97 2002 35 ARI
6 Randy Johnson 364 12.06 1999 35 ARI
7 Randy Johnson 329 12.12 1998 34 TOT
8 Curt Schilling 300 10.05 1998 31 PHI
9 Mike Scott 306 10.00 1986 31 HOU
10 Curt Schilling 319 11.29 1997 30 PHI
11 Mickey Lolich 308 7.37 1971 30 DET
12 Nolan Ryan 341 10.26 1977 30 CAL
13 Sandy Koufax 317 8.83 1966 30 LAD
14 Randy Johnson 308 10.86 1993 29 SEA
15 Sandy Koufax 382 10.24 1965 29 LAD
16 Nolan Ryan 327 10.35 1976 29 CAL
17 J.R. Richard 313 9.64 1979 29 HOU
18 J.R. Richard 303 9.90 1978 28 HOU
19 Nolan Ryan 367 9.93 1974 27 CAL
20 Rube Waddell 349 8.20 1904 27 PHA
21 Steve Carlton 310 8.06 1972 27 PHI
22 Sam McDowell 304 8.97 1970 27 CLE
23 Bob Feller 348 8.43 1946 27 CLE
24 Sandy Koufax 306 8.86 1963 27 LAD
25 Pedro Martinez 313 13.20 1999 27 BOS
26 Nolan Ryan 383 10.57 1973 26 CAL
27 Rube Waddell 302 8.39 1903 26 PHA
28 Pedro Martinez 305 11.37 1997 25 MON
29 Nolan Ryan 329 10.43 1972 25 CAL
30 Walter Johnson 303 7.39 1912 24 WSH
31 Walter Johnson 313 7.61 1910 22 WSH
32 Sam McDowell 325 10.71 1965 22 CLE
33 Vida Blue 301 8.68 1971 21 OAK

Nolan Ryan, power pitcher into his 40s. Did he use steroids?  Saturday, August 9, 2014

Nolan Ryan, Tom House and steroids.  Monday, August 11, 2014


Kendall said...

I can see Roger doing stuff like that, but not Nolan or Randy...Where's the actual proof that either one of them did anything? I haven't seen any report in the press that has stated that Nolan and Randy did or are suspected of doing steroids. Just because one apple in the barrel is tainted or has gone bad doesn't mean that the rest of the apples are bad..

Ken said...

Read the post again. The circumstantial evidence against Nolan Ryan is overwhelming: a long down period followed by the most explosive late career surge in MLB history.

Part of the problem is that almost every steroid zealot is staring at the batters and even then only at the recent batters. Wake the heck up! Nolan and Randy? What are you on a first name basis with them?

Scott said...

I have been asking this same question for a few years now, and frankly the sports media stonewalls every time. They seem willing to convict just about anyone except Ryan or Ripken based solely on circumstantial evidence. But mention either of those two and you are cut off the air, or told via email or web post that you are off your rocker.

There might never be any proof that Ryan did anything; but his late-career numbers do not lie. No non-PED pitcher in history had such a post-40s resurgence, and until the issue is addressed, I will assume that Ryan was as dirty as the rest of them.

Thanks for bringing it up and providing the numbers, Kendall.

Brian said...

I believe it is because Ryan finally perfected his changeup around 1987. He was a two pitch pitcher up to that point, IMO. Having watched many of his starts on television. His fastball mph numbers show a steady decline as his age advanced. I think his late numbers were a hint at what he could have achieved earlier in his career had he developed a reliable 3rd pitch.

Sliders2013 said...

It's funny that I found this article. We have been having discussions of PEDs and Baseball and without mentioning names, it seems funny that the one guy that is almost synonymous with baseball never shows up in Cooperstown since being inducted. The fact is there are a few that have had an edge and we turn a blind eye toward. Why does no one call out Sandy Koufax for not being able to pitch without a cortisone injection, last I checked cortisone is a steroid. Same goes for Mickey Mantle with that regard. PEDs are intended to speed up recovery so you can train harder and longer, before the known PEDs of today surfaced no one was testing in baseball so it was ok for guys like Ryan to have had an edge, because it was legal, just like it was when McGwire was using Androstenedione. No one is going to take away records because Willie Mays and Hank Aaron did speed, honestly there have always been guys seeking an edge in the game, some when it was legal, others when it was not. Whitey Ford and a host of pitchers junking the ball is still cheating, so what do we take away or detract from baseball by pointing out the flaws with the facts, it's always been and always will be...

Matt Smallwood said...

I think you're right on, Ken. It defies logic that his numbers would he have declined in his mid and late 30's and then out of nowhere, spectacular numbers in his 40's. And let's honest here, how many starters who didn't juice pitch into their forties? If you're not a knuckleballer, your arm might fall off. LOL. The new changeup would have made a slight difference, but changed the end of his career? Don't think so....

Jose Garcia said...

Ken your a genius!! I love your blog.

Jose Garcia said...

Ken!!! Thank you for this. Very entertaining! Loving your blog. I also agree with you on the Ryan theory. I think he was one of the best pitchers that ever played the game but that happened to juice a little bit.

Derek said...

I have taken advanced research courses, almost entirely unrelated to this, but one thing that is related is that one learns there are no "sacred cows." If you make anything a sacred cow it is no longer research but ideology. The same can be said of Nolan Ryan. Maybe he was simply "doctoring" the baseball as he reached those later, magical years, but it hard to explain why it took him so long to figure this out. Moreover, how was he able to throw in the mid-nineties at age 44? It does beg the question and it's fair. Just because the baseball community has a strong affinity for his body of work does not mean he did not cheat. Steroids were just coming into baseball at that point as he made his resurgence.

Brian said...

Ryan's fastball did nothing but decline over the course of his career. Its not like he gained 5-8 mph once he hit 40. Like another poster said, he had perfected his changeup to compensate for his declining fastball by 1987.

Reds broadcaster Joe Nuxhall showed him the circle change grip during the 1981 strike because Ryan was impressed with Mario Soto and inquired about his changeup to Nuxhall.

Adding the quality 3rd pitch late in his career to me is a big what might have been had he done this 15 years earlier

Unknown said...

The dip and late surge certainly begs the question about PEDs. But I also agree oe would expect velocity to increase or at least hold steady with PED use. In the case of both Ryan and Clemens, their velocities decreased. Ryan never again topped 100 mph after leaving California and by the time he was over 40 he was averaging between 93-95. (Still stunning.) But the other thing you have to recognize is his command. Ryan set records for bases on balls in his early years, but by the time he was 40 his control was more like Greg Maddux than like early Ryan. Command of his curve and development of a changeup cannot be ruled out as the main reasons for his late surge. IN Clemens case, his velocity went down steadily from the high to the low 90s, but he developed a wicked splitter that he was controlling very effectively by the time he reached Houston, which also was after the MLBPA drug testing program had been launched.

LoCoDe said...

Another thing to keep in mind with Ryan's K resurgence is that he pitched for so long that the game changed while he was active. When he started pitching, a batter striking out 100 times in a season was a rarity, by the time he retired it was commonplace. This can't be discounted.

Kenneth Matinale said...

Saturday, August 9, 2014
Nolan Ryan, power pitcher into his 40s. Did he use steroids?


I'm planning another post soon on Tom House, who used steroids in the 1970s and coached Ryan in the 1990s.

Anonymous said...

what about rose. note that suddenly his strikeout ratio went way way down. he started having half as many strikeouts. no one else has ever done that.

Anonymous said...

While I agree on the surface that it is possible that Nolan Ryan could have use steroids, I don't think what you have presented proves anything. The fact that Nolan was still throwing in 95 mph at age 44 does not prove that. Nolan was an outlier. Nolan was most probably the fastest pitcher baseball has ever known. The radar guns that timed him at 100.9 mph in the mid 1970's were notoriously reading that the present day guns. I believe that if today's technology had been present we would have seen Aroldis Chapman type mph numbers from Nolan Ryan. I feel he was throwing 105 mph back then and most likely averaging 100 mph+ with his fastball. So, he did slow down with age to where he throwing in the low to mid 90's after 40. He did lose mph like everyone else. He just started at a much higher level than everyone else. Just my opinion, but I strongly believe it to be true.

Kenneth Matinale said...

From my post:

Ryan went seven years without being strike out king until he recovered the touch in 1987 at age 40. Ryan pitched a record seven no hitters at these ages: 26, 26, 27, 28, 34, 43, 44. This anecdotal evidence is completely ignored. Did Nolan Ryan use banned and/or illegal stuff to enhance his performance? I have no idea but I find it odd that the steroid zealots have such narrow vision.