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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Ryan Express first to reach 4,000 strikeouts
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

July 11, 1985

At age 38, Houston's Nolan Ryan still can bring it. With 3,999 strikeouts and two strikes on the Mets' Danny Heep in the sixth inning, the Astrodome crowd of 20,921 rises, cheering wildly. The place gets even noisier when Ryan fools Heep, who misses badly at the curve in the dirt.

Reaching the magical 4,000 strikeouts, the first pitcher to ever achieve this feat, Ryan gets a two-minute standing ovation from the crowd and tips his cap several times.

Named to the National League All-Star team earlier in the day, Ryan is clocked as fast as 97 mph. During the Astros' 4-3, 12-inning victory, he strikes out 11 Mets in seven innings, the 158th time he fans at least 10, and has 4,004 strikeouts for his career.

The Ryan Express doesn't stop here. He will continue to pitch through the 1993 season and will retire with a record 5,714 strikeouts on his way to the Hall of Fame.

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