On this day, lo those many years ago, Nolan Ryan threw his first shutout as a Houston Astro in a 3-0 victory over Philadelphia in the Astrodome.
It was a very Ryan-esque start, as he struck out 10, walked four and gave up four hits. That's a lot of traffic and not a lot of actual contact, which is why he has his detractors in the blogosphere. Of course, in this game, it was the Hit King himself who came up with three of the four hits, so Ryan couldn't feel too badly.
The Astros got a surprisingly strong performance from its top three of Rafael Landestoy, Terry Puhl and Jeffrey Leonard, who went 6 for 11 with three RBIs, a run scored, a stolen base and a sacrifice hit. The Astros gave Ryan all the support he needed early in this one, scoring all three runs in the first two innings. Oh, and I should add that Nolan himself drew a walk and scored the third run of the game, so he helped himself out at the plate quite a bit.
It was the first of two shutouts for Nolan in the '80 season, his first after signing as a free agent from the California Angels. Nolan went 11-10 in 233 2/3 innings that season, striking out 200 and failing to lead the league in strikeouts for the first time in four seasons.
Nolan went on to record 13 shutouts with the Astros, including a no-hitter, and 38 complete games in 282 career starts over nine seasons with the team. And, that was all after the age of 33.
Here's the graphic replay of the game, courtesy of Back to Baseball.