THE BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT MY SON EVER GOT ~ NOLAN RYAN

By
Real Estate Agent

In 1991 my husband and I decided to take a family vacation.  We had never gone very far before.  Andrew our son was turning 13 that year.  We asked Andrew if we could take a trip any place at all, where would he like to go.  "To see Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers play"

Consulting the schedule for the week of vacation put the Texas Rangers in Arlington.  We made reservations and off we flew.  At the game I was lucky enough to get one seat right at the rail of the Rangers Bull Pen for Andrew.  My husband and I sat a few rows behind.

As luck would have it that day was Andrew's Birthday and the team had Kodak Day.  Everyone was allowed on the field to meet the players and get some photos.  When Nolan came by my son who was standing a few people from the rope called out and said, "Mr. Ryan will you wish me Happy Birthday today"?  Nolan stopped, turned and walked over.  He reached over people to shake Andrews' hand.  Nolan asked him what his name was and said "Happy Birthday Andrew". For a 13 year old boy no present could have compared.   A day he will never forget.

The following summer I had to spend 10 days in Texas traveling to various company locations.  Both Andrew and his best friend Timmy went along.  Naturally when in Dallas we stayed in Arlington.  From talking to some locals in my company I found out where Nolan had dinner every night before the game.

The night of his game we went to the restaurant.  As it turned out we knew he was in the restaurant but had no idea where.  When the hostess asked me where I wanted to sit I automatically said smoking. (At that time I still smoked).  I had a fleeting thought that perhaps I should have said non-smoking.  For sure we would not run into Nolan in smoking.

When we were taken to our table both boys stopped dead in their tracks.  I practically fell over them.  It did look like something from the Keystone Cops. At a booth across from us sat Nolan and his family.  Did you ever see two teenage boys too excited to touch food? 

When Nolan was finished dinner we went outside and met him on the porch.  My son had brought along Nolan's jersey and a sharpie. (Just in case he saw him).  Andrew politely excused himself and asked Nolan if he had a minute.  Andrew told him he had met him the previous year on Kodak Day.  To his surprise Nolan said, "I remember you Andrew".   Nolan said his name before Andrew told him.  He really did remember him.

Nolan was so gracious.  He signed Andrews' jersey and posed for a picture with him.  Andrew later had the picture blown up and framed.  Even now as an adult that picture hangs in a place of prominence in his home. It is a great source of pride and a wonderful memory for him.

Nolan Ryan and Andrew Vaughan

We followed Nolan's career for years.  I've met a lot of players dragging the kids around to games and signings. I have to say Nolan Ryan is truly a gentleman.  He was a talented and humble athlete.  Not all athletes deserve the adulation they get from the fans.  Nolan Ryan always set himself apart and maintained a high standard of conduct on and off the field.

_______________________________________________________________

Bonnie and Jayne Vaughan - Driven and Dedicated Realtors. Serving Buyers, Sellers, Investors, Estates, Probate, Foreclosures and Relocations. Clarks Summit Pa

VISIT OUR WEBSITE www.callthesisters.com

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Ambassador
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Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com

That's a great story.  I bet it would make any kids day.  Being a celebrity is tough with everybody asking for autographs but Nolan did well.

Jul 28, 2009 01:41 PM #1
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Russ, We have met him several times at the stadium.  Of all the people my son picked to admire he did well.  Bobby Valentine was pretty cool too with the kids.  I'll post that another time.

Jul 28, 2009 01:51 PM #2
Rainmaker
114,333
Sandy Fenton
Keller Williams NY Realty * Licensed Associate Broker - Mount Kisco, NY
ABR, ASP, CDPE, GRI -Westchester NY - Condos to Luxury Homes

Bonnie - at the risk of sounding redundant - that's a great story!  Nolan sounds like a really nice guy. 

My son played his last baseball games when he was 13.  We had a good run from the minor leagues through Little League.  I miss those baseball days.

Jul 28, 2009 01:59 PM #3
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Sandy,  I agree those were wonderful days.  I think interests like that kept my son out of trouble.  We still go to games whenever we can.  My son lives in Myrtle Beach now and the Braves have a farm team there. 

Jul 28, 2009 02:15 PM #4
Rainmaker
205,952
Alice Linahan
Voices Empower - Argyle, TX

Bonnie,

Love that story!!

Thank you for sharing it with me. I grew up with 4 older brothers and I am the only girl so sports were a huge part of my life.

I love your advice "Follow your children's dreams - not your dreams for your children."

Our oldest son is a huge sports fan. At 5 we were watching a movie and the first scene showed a little boy playing with football men, kind of like you would see a boy playing with army men.

The next scene of the film showed a football game with that little boy as a football coach. Danny-David my son kept saying the play worked. I said what are you talking about.

He said the play the little boy was setting up with the football players worked in real life. The play worked Mom!

I don't know if Danny-David is the best player on any of the teams he is on but he defiantly loves sports and the strategythat goes into winning a game. I told him if you don't make it to the big leagues or NFL someday you would be a great Coach. Or a great salesmen for sporting equipment. He knows everything about sporting equipment.

Our youngest son who is five now has no interest in sports at all. His love is Thomas The Train. As crazy as Danny-David was about sports, Cody is as much or more crazy for trains. It is funny how that happens. It will be interesting to see how they both follow their dreams.

You are a great Mom. Andrew is proof positive of that!!

Nolan would be proud!!

Have a great day!!

 

Aug 17, 2009 08:23 AM #5
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Hi Alice thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed my story.  I will have to post some other escapades of the Travels of Andrew and Timmy.

I draw my advice from my own experience as a child.  My parents pushed me towards the career they had chosen for me.  It eventually turned into resentment. I threw away a career because of the pressure that was put on me.  Instead of being supportive they were stage parents.  I vowed I would never do that to my child.

Follow their dreams behind them.  Give them your support.  Winning is not everything.  Doing your best is.

You have years to go.  Their interests will change.  It may seem like a roller coaster.  Just hang on. Never say never.  Even if they pop up with an interest in a career that scares you to death. 

My son wanted to be a "door buster". Law enforcement was compelling to him.  I used to tell people when they asked me what he wanted to do that I was unsure whether he would be an assassin for the CIA or a hit man for the Mafia.

I was always supportive but pointed out the pitfalls for him either getting into the CIA or FBI.  Today he still realizes his dream by building guns for SWAT teams.  His clients are strictly law enforcement.

Their direction will come about in time. 

Have a great day Alice.

Aug 17, 2009 08:59 AM #6
Rainmaker
1,204,974
Tony & Darcy Cannon
Aubrey and Associates Realty - Layton, UT
The C Team

Bonnie,

Great story on a great person!  I too have a story somewhat similar to Andrews.  When I was 12 Nolan still was playing for the Angels.  The AAA team for the Angels was the Salt Lake Gulls in Salt Lake City, every season the Angels would come to Salt Lake and play an exhibition game against the Gulls.

My buddies and I got tickets and went early to the game to get autographs.  We were so early that the Angels Pitchers were in left field stretching.  We yelled out and asked if when they were finished, would they sign autographs.  The players yelled back to come on out, they would sign them now.  So we did.  The players were all very gracious, especially Nolan Ryan.  It was really his autograph that we were after, the Angels were still not a real good team at that point.

Nolan signed our program and the baseballs that we had.  He then must have noticed that the security guard was standing there waiting for us to exit the field.  He walked us back to the wall where we could climb back into the stands, then he turned to the security guard and said: "I asked these boys out on to the field, if they aren't allowed to stay and watch the game, I will make sure that tomorrow you will have a new job."  

The security guard must have believed him, for he turned and walked away leaving us alone.  Nolan then mussed our hair told us that it was his pleasure to meet us and shook our hands.  After the game we hung around trying to get more autographs, Nolan asked if we had watched the game and nodded as we told him that we had.

He is one of the few baseball players that I can honestly say he is a Hall of Fame Player but a better person!  Good Story on a good man!

Aug 19, 2009 05:15 PM #8
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Bonnie Vaughan

CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin
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