Thursday, February 24, 2005

Tanana and Ryan and Two Days of Cryin’

Frank Tanana and Nolan Ryan played for the California Angels in the 1970’s and were two of the most dominating pitchers to pitch for such a pitiful team. During that period the team played .481 ball, yet these two had a combined ERA of 3.07 with 240 victories, and 3649 strikeouts.

Tanana and Ryan and Two Days of Cryin’; two great pitchers and then two days of misery because of the team’s poor pitching. They had an amazing 248 complete games between them and the bullpen was so atrocious, Los Angeles Herald Examiner sportswriter Dick Miller dubbed it the “Arson Squad.”

Dick Enberg, the noted broadcaster, talks about his days as the Angel broadcaster and about these two pitchers in his recent book, “Dick Enberg, Oh My,” published by Sports Publishing LLC.

Dick describes Frank Tanana as being “blessed with pin-point control and mountains of moxie. Early in his career, Tanana was a strikeout pitcher, but after he hurt his arm in the late 1970s, he adjusted and was able to keep winning with an 80 mile-an-hour fastball and a mixture of off-speed stuff. His fastball became his change of pace. It was tough for batters to read his pitches”

On Nolan Ryan Dick writes, “During that 1973 season, Ryan pitched for a team with a losing record that finished 15 games out of first place. Yet, besides the two no-hitters, he had a 21-16 mark, threw 26 complete games (second in the league), worked 326 innings (third), and compiled a 2.87 earned run average (fourth). He also struck out 383 batters, which is still the major league record. But he didn’t win the Cy Young Award. He finished second to the Orioles’ Jim Palmer. It was criminal.”

The book comes with a DVD where Dick tells many of the personal stories included in the book.

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