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Gary Nolan

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Gary Nolan

A photo of Gary Nolan.

Gary Lynn Nolan (born May 27, 1948 in, California) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher who played with the Cincinnati Reds (1967–73, 1975–77) and California Angels (1977). He was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1983.

Nolan's first Major League ballgame was at the age of only 18. A hard thrower, Nolan had a promising debut on April 15, 1967 when he struck out the side in the first inning en route to a 7-3 victory over the Houston Astros. He finished with a 14-8 record in that rookie season, was fourth in the National League in ERA (2.58) and in strikeouts (206), and was second in the Rookie of the Year voting behind Tom Seaver.

In 1970 Nolan went 18-7 with 181 strikeouts and a 3.26 ERA, helping the Reds to win the NL pennant and establishing himself as one of the league's great young starting pitchers. Nolan pitched a remarkable nine innings of shutout ball to earn a victory in the 10-inning Game One of that year's National League Championship Series against Pittsburgh. But he took the loss in Game One of the World Series against the eventual champion Baltimore Orioles.

The remainder of Nolan's career was plagued by assorted injuries, but his diminishing fastball was soon complemented with renowned pitching accuracy, and he led the league in fewest walks per nine innings during Cincinnati's 1975 and 1976 back-to-back World Series seasons.

After a disappointing 12-15 record in 1971, he posted 13 victories before the 1972 All-Star Game. Selected for the NL team, Nolan was suffering from neck and shoulder pains, and he was forced to withdrawal from the game. After rehabbing his injuries on the disabled list, he returned to the lineup and finished the season with a 15-5 record and 1.99 ERA, leading the league in winning percentage (.750) and was second to Steve Carlton in ERA. In the World Series against Oakland that year, he lost Game One (six innings, three runs) and was pulled from the game early in Game Six (4 1/3 innings, one earned run).

Arm problems forced Nolan to miss most of 1973, and he missed the entire 1974 season. He returned in 1975 in good form, going 15-9 with a 3.16 ERA. In the World Series against Boston, he pitched just six innings in two starts. In 1976, he duplicated his 15-9 record and finally got his first World Series victory against the Yankees in the last game of a four-game sweep. New arm and shoulder problems bothered him in 1977, and he opted to retire.

In 10-season career, Nolan compiled a 110-70 record with 1,039 strikeouts, a 3.08 ERA, 45 complete games, 14 shutouts, and 1,674 innings pitched in 250 games (247 starts). In eleven post season games he was 2-2 with a 3.34 ERA covering 59.1 innings.

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