The Last Great Season

THE STORM CLOUDS HAD PASSED OVER, leaving behind a cool, clear Florida evening, a perfect night for the grandest spectacle that baseball could offer: Nolan Ryan pitching in a spring-training ball park so intimate that there are no bad seats. Ryan, "the Wizard of Whiff," 46 years young (Bill Clinton's junior by five months), was dazzling against the New York Yankees on this mid- March evening. For the 5,000 lucky fans, all that mattered was the explosive pop of Ryan's fastball into the glove of Texas Ranger catcher Ivan Rodriguez. During his five-inning stint, Ryan (he of the record seven no-...

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