A major chapter in baseball history came to an end 25 years ago with the final pitch of Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan’s extraordinary career. Texas Co-op Power’s writers and editors allow their literary habits to be an open book as they reveal their favorite recent reads.
Wonder Arm Gives Out
Pitching star Nolan Ryan’s career ended 25 years ago when he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in a game at the Kingdome in Seattle. Bob Sherwin of the Seattle Times described that September 22, 1993, moment so eloquently: “A right-elbow ligament, 46 years, seven months and 24 days old, punished by more than 80,000 big-league pitches, had enough.”
With that, just 11 days short of finishing his record 27th and final major-league season, Ryan, a Texas Ranger, left the game and took with him dozens of pitching records, including 5,714 strikeouts and seven no-hitters.
Ryan, who grew up in Alvin, entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 and is an executive adviser for the Houston Astros, one of his former teams.
Mark Your Calendars … And Read a Book
To commemorate National Read a Book Day, September 6, the writers and editors at Texas Co-op Power tell about the latest books they read:
Chris Burrows: The Night of the Gun by David Carr. Journalist Carr turns his reporting chops on himself to uncover his own dark past in this memoir published not long before his sudden death in The New York Times newsroom.
Travis Hill: CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders. Infused with equal parts humor and horror, these seven stories present a dystopian world in which theme parks are oases for the rich while the rest of humanity battles for scarce resources in a toxic wasteland.
Charles Lohrmann: The World We Used To Live In: Remembering the Powers of the Medicine Men by Vine Deloria Jr. A renowned Native American legal and religious scholar reviews the history of traditional spirituality.
Jessica Ridge: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. A layered, decadeslong meditation on the ways that love, loyalty and compassion converge as two families fracture and meld—chaotically, painfully and sometimes beautifully.
Tom Widlowski: Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke. The Texas author’s dark, heartbreaking murder mystery lays bare racial tensions in a fictional East Texas town.
Hill Country Goes Cajun
The Medina Lake Cajun Festival started in 1981 as the Great Gumbo Cookoff to help keep the Medina Lake Betterment Association, a nonprofit civic organization, afloat. The event’s name was changed in 1990 but still features a gumbo cook-off in addition to Cajun food and music.
It’s always the fourth Saturday of September—rain or shine—in Lakehills, which is in Bandera Electric Cooperative’s service territory, northwest of San Antonio. Wayne & Same Ol’ Two Step is among the featured performers this year. Call (830) 751-2727 for more information.
100 Years Ago
Elizabeth Howard West was named state librarian in 1918—the first woman to head a Texas state agency. She started the county library system and initiated services to minorities and the blind.
By the Numbers: 3.2 Trillion
American drivers in cars, trucks, minivans and SUVs logged 3,213,516,000,000 miles on the nation’s roads in a 12-month period ending March 1, 2018, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Consider giving your car a break September 22, World Carfree Day.
Turning 75 This Month
Curtis John Guillory, who became bishop of the Diocese of Beaumont in 2000 and the first African-American Catholic bishop in Texas, was born September 1, 1943, in Mallet, Louisiana.
Joe Morgan, the baseball star who began his Hall of Fame career in Houston then led the Cincinnati Reds to two World Series titles in the 1970s, was born September 19, 1943.
TV in Texas
The first TV station in Texas went on the air 70 years ago this month. WBAP in Fort Worth carried a speech by President Harry Truman, speaking in downtown Fort Worth, on September 27, 1948. WBAP was the first station south of St. Louis, east of Los Angeles and west of Richmond, Va.
225 years ago: President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on September 18, 1793. The event included the Masonic practice of laying an inscribed metal plate and consecration with corn, wine and oil.
75 years ago: Tommy Nobis, two-time All-American linebacker at the University of Texas and first-ever draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons, was born September 20, 1943, in San Antonio. When he died in 2017, he was described as “one of the most ferocious players in Texas history.”
The World Turned Out a Star
This month marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of TV legend Helen Wagner. Wagner, born September 3, 1918, in Lubbock, played the character Nancy Hughes on the CBS soap opera As the World Turns, speaking the first words in the show’s premiere April 2, 1956, saying to her husband from her twin bed, “Good morning, dear.”
Wagner played Hughes for 54 years—or more than 19,700 world turns—the Guinness World Record for the longest amount of time playing the same role on TV. Her final appearance on the show aired April 5, 2010, and she died May 1, 2010.
Did You Know?
As the World Turns was still being performed live on air in 1963, and Wagner’s character was speaking her part November 22 when a CBS News Bulletin interrupted her midsentence. Walter Cronkite then came on and announced that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.