Laura W. Bush Institute hits a homerun

Baseball legend comes to San Angelo for women’s health fundraiser

By Kaitlin Trujillo
On April 13, 2018

Photo by Kaitlin Trujillo
Nolan Ryan sits down with ASU’s head baseball coach, Kevin Brooks, for a fireside chat. Brooks asked Ryan about his career, life and family.


The Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health brought baseball hall-of-famer Nolan Ryan to San Angelo on April 4 to speak at a fundraiser for women’s health. 

“We’re fundraising for our breast cancer treatment fund,” Kendall Arroyo, senior, said. “All the money that comes from this event will go straight into that fund. It helps people that are under-insured or don’t have any insurance at all to help them get mammograms.”

The event raised twice the amount they raised last year. 

Head baseball coach Kevin Brooks interviewed Ryan in front of a sold-out crowd. 

“It was awesome,” Brooks said. “Every kid that played baseball, especially from Texas, grew up watching that guy, trying to be him. To be able to not only meet him, but to sit down and talk to the guy for an hour or two, that’s something I’ll never forget.”

Brooks asked Ryan about everything from his baseball career to his childhood to the infamous moment when he put Robin Ventura in a headlock and punched him six times. 

“Robin led off that first inning,” Ryan said. “I lobbed a fastball over the plate, and he got a base hit to left field. Well, the next time he came up, I decided I was going to come in on him and establish ‘in.’ And if I’m going to pitch in, I’m going to miss in. I’m not going to miss out over the plate. Well, I missed in, and he took offense to it and came out to the mound. I tell people I was just glad to see a normal-sized person come out there. The two previous guys that came out there were Dave Winfield, who’s 6’7”, and the other guy was 6’9”. So it was kind of a relief to see a normal person out there.”

The ASU baseball team participated at the event by seating guests and handing out autographed baseballs 
purchased to support the cause.

“That’s a great guy to listen to,” Brooks said. “Hopefully they took one thing from how he’s lived his life and try to emulate it. The guy is so successful in every walk of life so being able to maybe learn a few of those things is very valuable for everyone.”

Ryan recounted other highlights of his life and career before a catered lunch was served. 

“He’s inspiring and entertaining; that’s why we wanted to bring him,” Arroyo said. “I think the event went really smooth. I feel like everyone was entertained and enjoyed the event. The food was great. Overall, I think it was one of our best events so far. “

Throughout his career, Ryan was praised for his integrity and love of the game.

“I’ve been very blessed,” Ryan said. “I got put into a position because of my success to have an opportunity to be an influence. And I always said that if you had that opportunity, why wouldn’t you be a positive influence? I had players say, ‘hey, it’s not my responsibility to do those things.’ But why not? It’s like this organization. Why wouldn’t you want to better people’s lives?”


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