He was the greatest power pitcher of his - or arguably any - era. Now, for one night-only, a documentary about the life and legacy of Hall-of-Famer, Nolan Ryan, can be seen on the big screen.
"Facing Nolan" is a compelling, loving film that tells the story of one of the best and most intimidating pitchers baseball has ever seen. It's a must-see for any baseball fan, and even for the casual fan, it's a deeply rewarding biography centered on ambition, family, faith and love...about a young man who made the American Dream his reality.
In theaters for one-night only, Tuesday, May 24th (check local theaters here), you can catch "Facing Nolan." Like his 108-mile-per-hour fastball (according to legend), don't let this one blow past you.
"Facing Nolan" is not a memorial: The legendary Nolan Ryan is still kicking butt well into his 70s now. No player has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) longer than Ryan, whose 27-year career saw him strike out 47 different Hall-of-Famers, from Roger Maris to Barry Bonds. Even though he retired from baseball almost 30 years ago, he still holds several MLB records, including lifetime batting average allowed (.204), career strike-outs (5,714) and no-hitters (7).
That career strike-out record by the way? Randy Johnson is in second place...ending his Hall-of-Fame career still a good 900+ strike-outs behind Ryan.
Ryan struck out 26% of ALL batters he faced throughout the entire 1970s. He won a World Series with the New York Mets before breaking records for the California Angels, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers. He holds the modern-day record for most strike-outs in a single season (383) and the record for most career double-digit strike-out games (215).
Hall-of-Fame player Edgar Martinez struck out 53% of his plate appearances against Nolan Ryan in his career. He struck out just 17% against everyone else.
And oh by the way, Nolan Ryan doesn't only have the most no-hitters in MLB history, he has the most one-hitters, two-hitters and three-hitters (click here for more amazing, unbelievable-but-true stats on Nolan Ryan). He also has the most career walks, most grand slams allowed and most stolen bases allowed.
"Facing Nolan" not only takes you through his career, but also gives you a peek behind the curtain into his personal life. As it turns out with most successful men, there is a strong woman responsible behind-the-scenes and in Nolan's case, it's his wife, Ruth Ryan. Ruth becomes an endearing figure in the film, a childhood sweetheart of Nolan's and a talented athlete in her own right. She was the force that pushed Ryan and allowed him to reach his fullest potential. It's not stated in the film, but the subtext is there: There would be no Nolan Ryan without Ruth.
The film tells how Ryan went from humble beginnings in Refugio, Texas, to arguably the best player the game has ever seen. Legend has it that Ryan developed his strong arm throwing newspapers as a kid on a paper route with his dad (Nolan debunks this theory in the film, laughing it off), and although he had tremendous raw talent, it wasn't until he was traded from the Mets to the Angels (in what is known as one of the worst transitions in sports history) and was properly coached, that he was molded into the pitcher we would eventually know him as.
"Facing Nolan" gives us interviews with Nolan himself, now living a dream life on his Texas ranch (where else?) with his family nearby. We also hear from nearly all living baseball greats, from Pete Rose, to Cal Ripken Jr., to Randy Johnson and George Brett, who all talk about their time with Nolan, on and off the field, as well as his influence on the game as a whole. Ryan was the first ball player to make over one million dollars in an industry where the league minimum is now approaching that number. But his value to the game and those that came across him is priceless. As a former owner of the Rangers and resident Texan, former President George W. Bush is also featured.
This is a documentary not to be missed. Even if you think you know Nolan Ryan, were a fan of his while he played, heard legend of his name, or loathed him when he would be the starting pitcher against your favorite team, this movie is a baseball-lover's dream.
Remember, it's a one-night only screening of "Facing Nolan" on Tuesday, May 24th, and it is accompanied by a Q&A with Nolan Ryan and the filmmakers, from its SXSW world premiere. Don't be intimidated: This is about the only moment in history where you should look forward to facing Nolan Ryan, so don't squander it.
Genre: Documentary, Sports.
Run Time: 1 hour 51 minutes.
Directed by Bradley Jackson (feature-film directorial debut).
"Facing Nolan" is in theaters one-night only on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022.
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