ARLINGTON, Tex. — Nolan Ryan, the oldest pitcher to have 300 strikeouts in a season, said Monday he will go for his 300th victory next year and "be disappointed" if he doesn't get it.
At 42, the Texas Rangers' right-hander is 11 victories short of 300, considered an automatic ticket to the Hall of Fame.
Although he considered retiring, Ryan had to be encouraged by his performance this season. He finished with a major league leading 301 strikeouts, 66 more than runner-up Mark Langston of the Montreal Expos, and he had 16 victories, his highest total since 1977.
"I should get 300 if I stay healthy and pitch all season," said Ryan, whose pitch was clocked at 99 m.p.h. in one game this season.
Ryan's biggest milestone came Aug. 22 when he got his 5,000th strikeout.
"My return hinged on how I fared physically and how my family enjoyed it," Ryan said. "Going in, I had programmed that it was my last year. I thought along those lines until the last six weeks.
"It turned out to be, if not the most enjoyable season, one that would rate up there with the top couple of seasons. The Rangers treated my family great. They are kid-oriented. In my last several seasons in Houston, my kids wouldn't even go to the Astrodome."
Ryan's two boys traveled on trips with the Rangers. He also has a daughter. His wife, Ruth, went on some trips and Ryan said, "If it had been up to her, she would have been on the field hitting and shagging balls, too.
"The Rangers worked with my kids and that meant a lot to me. That wasn't the attitude in Houston."
Ryan, who will make $1.4 million on his 1990 contract, has been offered an option for the 1991 season, but he said, "I haven't even thought that far ahead."