GOTW: 9.12.1993

Sunday September 12, 1993
Arlington Stadium
Arlington, TX

Minnesota Twins (60-82) @ Texas Rangers (77-65)

Nolan Ryan had been playing major league baseball for nearly four decades by 1993. A season spent mostly on the disabled list was finally enough for the 46-year-old to call it quits and retire. Just off of his third stint on the DL Ryan was set to start against the Minnesota Twins on a Sunday in Arlington. It what was only his 11th start of the season, Nolan Ryan took the mound in what would be his final pitching appearance in Arlington.

The Rangers, realizing that this was likely his last start in front of the home crowd, dubbed the game “Nolan Ryan Appreciation Night”.

   Minnesota Twins               Texas Rangers                        
1. C Knoblauch          2B    1. R Ducey              RF
2. R Becker             CF    2. D Strange            2B
3. K Puckett            RF    3. R Palmeiro           1B
4. S Mack               LF    4. J Gonzalez           LF
5. B Harper             C     5. J Franco             DH
6. C Hale               DH    6. I Rodriguez          C
7. D McCarty            1B    7. D Palmer             3B
8. S Stahoviak          3B    8. D Hulse              CF
9. D Hocking            SS    9. M Diaz               SS 

   K Tapani             P        N Ryan               P

The Rangers scored off of Kevin Tapani in the first inning when Juan Gonzalez singled home Doug Strange to give his team a 1-0 lead. The Twins, showing that they weren’t just going to roll over to celebrate Ryan’s career, answered with a Shane Mack solo home run off of Ryan in the second, tying the score at 1-1.

Ryan fought his way through the fifth inning to keep the score tied. He was certainly not dominant, and didn’t even record a strikeout until he got Chuck Knoblauch swinging to end the fifth; but Ryan was able to wiggle out of several jams and get Twins out when he needed to. He was able to maintain that until the sixth inning.

The inning started with a couple of walks sandwiched around a strikeout of Kirby Puckett (Ryan’s second, and final K of the game). With two out, Chip Hale finally got the hit off of Ryan with a runner in scoring position, and David McCarty followed with a two-run double to chase Ryan out of his own celebration and give the Twins a 4-1 lead.

The lead held up, despite another Gonzalez RBI in the eighth, and the Twins won the game 4-2. Rick Aguilera worked around a lead off single in the ninth to retire the next three and earn his 30th save of the season.

Stars of the Game
1. Kevin Tapani MIN 6 2/3 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 9 K
2. Shane Mack MIN 1-for-3, 2 R, HR
3. Juan Gonzalez TEX 2-for-4, 2 RBI

Box

As it turned out, Ryan had two more starts left in his career. He probably would have preferred for his 9/17/93 start to end his career. In an appearance at a familiar place, Anaheim, Ryan allowed only one run through seven innings with five strikeouts. His final start was quite forgettable, an effort in Seattle in which Ryan allowed the following in the first inning:

Bottom of the 1st, Mariners Batting, Tied 0-0, Nolan Ryan facing 1-2-3
          ---  2  O Vizquel       Single to LF (Line Drive to Short LF)
          1--     R Amaral        Vizquel Steals 2B
          -2-  6  " "             Walk
          12-  6  K Griffey       Walk; Vizquel to 3B; Amaral to 2B
   R      123  5  J Buhner        Walk; Vizquel Scores; Amaral to 3B; Griffey to 2B
   RRRR   123  5  D Howitt        Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF); Amaral Scores; Griffey Scores; Buhner Scores

Ryan was removed from the game before he got a single out in his final major league appearance.

Born September 12, 1975
Luis Castillo

Born September 12, 1884
Bob Groom
I wrote a bit about his granddaughter’s presentation at SABR 37 here.

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