Towering, intimidating, and possessing one of the most blistering fastballs ever witnessed in Major League Baseball, Nolan Ryan — one of the most acclaimed pitchers in MLB history — is the stuff of Texas legend and lore.
Now, the slow-talking, fast-throwing ace is the subject of a new film screening across Austin, Texas, and the nation. Facing Nolan will screen in movie theaters one night only, Tuesday, May 24, at 7 pm through Fathom Events. Fans can find the closest theater screening the film here.
According to the Associated Press, Facing Nolan will show on 850 screens in theaters across the country May 24, and the 105-minute documentary will be available for streaming later this year. A public showing followed a Texas Rangers home game in Arlington on May 1, the anniversary of Ryan’s seventh no-hitter in 1991.
Ryan's son Reid Ryan, a former Houston Astros president and pro player himself, is an executive producer on the film and says his dad is a fan.
“He is really pleased with how it turned out,” says Reid.
The title Facing Nolan speaks to what major league hitters secretly dreaded when they stepped up to the plate and started down the six-foot-two Ryan, who regularly threw 100 mph and once clocked a 98 mph fastball — at the staggering age of 46.
The film, which received rave reviews at its SXSW premiere and currently boasts a 100-percent Rotten Tomatoes rating, centers on Ryan’s career, which started in Refugio, Texas, took him through Alvin High School and Alvin Community College in Texas, on the way to an illustrious, 27-year career with the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers. After his retirement, he was part owner, president, and CEO of the Rangers for several years.
He boasts 51 MLB records, including the most career strikeouts and no-hitters and is known by many as No. 34 and “The Ryan Express.”
His career was made for the movies: Ryan once pitched with his jersey covered in blood and ran his cattle ranch during the off-season. And no fan can ever forget the iconic, in-game brawl between Ryan — then of the Texas Rangers — and Robin Ventura of the Chicago White Sox, who, at 20 years younger than Ryan, found himself on the wrong end of the pitcher’s headlock.
Directed by Bradley Jackson, Facing Nolan features new interviews with notables such as President George W. Bush, Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pete Rose, Dave Winfield, and a host of former players.
Despite being a terror on the mound, Ryan has been the consummate gentleman in his retirement, something his former opponents observe now. “He was surprised,” Reid adds, “to hear other players fondly reminisce about their infield battles.”
For a full list of participating Austin theaters, visit the official film event site. View the trailer here: