Twenty years and one month ago today, Texas was in Kansas City for the start of a quick two-game set, having lost seven of nine (the only two wins coming courtesy of rookie Kevin Brown), dropping the club from a first-place perch atop the seven-team American League West into a tie for third.
Nolan Ryan put a temporary stop to the skid, going all nine in a 6-3 win over the Royals, throwing 92 strikes among his 133 pitches as he scattered five singles and two walks. Improving to 4-2, 2.68 for the season, Ryan struck out double-digit opponents for the fourth time in a string of six starts, punching out 11 in the May 11, 1989 contest. Bo Jackson went down on strikes in all four of his at-bats (16 months before the Jackson-Ryan split-lip incident).
Geno Petralli caught Ryan that night, and scored once despite seeing his average fall to .303 with an 0 for 3 at the plate. Petralli had drawn a second-inning walk and came around to score on one of Pete Incaviglia's 21 career triples.
Ruben Sierra had a similar night, going 0 for 3 with a walk and coming around to score courtesy of an Incaviglia single in the sixth.
Buddy Bell pinch-hit for Jeff Stone in the eighth, lining out to left off of former Ranger Jerry Don Gleaton in what would be the 8,939th of Bell's 8,995 big league at-bats, in a career that would end five weeks later.
It was a travel day for Cincinnati, which had lost the day before to the Mets, 11-4, a game in which second-year big leaguer Jack Armstrong had mopped up after pitching himself out of the Reds rotation with two straight poor starts.
Reid Ryan was 17 years old on May 11, 1989, weeks away from graduation ceremonies at Alvin High School.
Mike Bell was 14, anticipating his freshman year at Cincinnati's famed Moeller High.
Ben Petralli was three years old.
Armstrong's wife was seven months away from giving birth to Jack Armstrong Jr.
And Ruben Sierra Jr. wouldn't be born for another two years, in March 1991, inspiring what would be Dad's MVP season.
Reid, Mike, Ben, Jack Jr., and Ruben Jr. are the five players the Rangers have drafted whose fathers played for the organization.
Maybe that May 11, 1989 game can be the future subject of the pregame "A Page from Baseball's Past" feature made a Rangers staple by Eric Nadel, who was in the radio booth that night and returns to the booth tonight, having missed a week following surgery to repair two tears in the retina of his right eye. Nadel was back in his chair last night, but had his return rained out.
I'm thrilled that Nadel is back where we all need him, and look forward to the day years from now when he can introduce a lineup that includes Ruben Sierra Jr., taken yesterday by Texas in the sixth round of the 2009 draft.
The draft concludes later today. Eleanor Czajka's Newberg Report Draft Page will be up later this week.