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.
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
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