Rangers owner, baseball legend Nolan Ryan coming to Victoria (video)
July 17, 2013 at 2:17 a.m.
UHV athletic director Ashley Walyuchow still hears people talk about the first ever Night for the Jaguars from two years ago at the Victoria Country Club.
However, Walyuchow will probably hear a lot more about this year's event.
MLB Hall of Famer and career strikeout leader Nolan Ryan will come to Victoria on Aug. 28 for this year's Night for the Jaguars at Riverside Stadium.
"We are very excited to bring Nolan to our community. It's absolutely phenomenal," Walyuchow said. "It's something this town and university may never see again."
Ryan, who currently serves as the chief executive for the Texas Rangers and is part-owner of the Round Rock Express and Corpus Christi Hooks, will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 28 at an event that will feature a live and silent auction and introductions of the 2013-14 UHV student-athletes.
Proceeds from the auctions will go toward the UHV athletic scholarship fund.
Ryan will have a couple special live auction items to conclude the evening, including an autographed UHV baseball jersey that he will wear during the event.
"Our goal is to not only raise money for our program, but also provide a different experience," Walyuchow said. "We want to see the community, as well as families come experience the event as one. The pricing is very affordable."
Tickets for the Wednesday night event start at $5 for general admission. Tickets for covered grandstand bleachers will be $10 and seats in the covered grandstand stadium seats will be $20.
Tickets can be purchased online at the UHV athletics website beginning July 22 or at the university's athletic office located at 3302 N. Ben Wilson. Tickets can also be purchased the day of the event at Riverside Stadium.
While Walyuchow and the UHV athletic department made it seem bringing Ryan to Victoria was easy, that couldn't be further from the truth.
"It ended up ending close to two months, or something like that by the time he finally said yes," said UHV baseball coach Terry Puhl, who played with Ryan for nine seasons in the 1980s with the Astros. "We had been pushing him from all types of angles. Nolan is open to everything, he just needs to hear all of the details."
"I have so many memories of Nolan," Puhl said. "I remember him walking into the locker room, each day, he walked in and was a lot of fun. But on game day when he walked in he was like a gorilla. Nobody would even talk to him."
Puhl played a big role in Ryan getting his fifth no-hitter, and all it takes is a quick YouTube search to see why.
In one 14-second clips shows former Dodgers' catcher Mike Scioscia hitting a line drive into center field, and Puhl makes a one-handed grab, running toward the wall.
It was a surreal experience, Puhl said, but nothing compared to his short conversation with Ryan after the game.
"About 10 minutes after the game, I'm sitting there and all of a sudden Nolan was right in front of my face. I said, 'what do you want,'" Puhl recalled. "He said he just wanted to thank me for the catch."
Ryan went on to throw two more no hitters for a total of seven in his career, a record that still stands today.