That’s almost against belief, but five of the Rangers’ nine main pitchers played for Ryan’s club during the first two seasons – the other four were Huff, Rogers, Kevin Brown and Jamie Moyer – under 40. Ryan, Hoff and Moyer make up a list of the eight oldest players of the modern era. They were right-wingers and left-wingers, controlled artists and firefighters, and each was looking for ways to pursue a career. Whatever the demographic, they had one thing in common: They all learned from Tom House how to maintain guns.
“First of all I am a teacher”
Randy Johnson struggled. It was 1992 and Johnson, a high left-back with a fast ball like Ryan, was in his fourth full league season. However, his talent was diminished by a deep lack of control. At 6 feet by 10 inches, Johnson simply had too many moving parts for consistent coordination. When the Rangers arrived in Seattle that August, Johnson was 2-7 ahead of his previous nine starts, he ran 52 batteries in 56 innings while delivering 5.46 eras.
From the guest dugout, House and Ryan knew what he was experiencing. House followed Johnson, a fellow graduate of the University of Southern California, from the days of Pitcher College. Ryan was once a wild firefighter, having led the league eight times in 11 years. However, in 1989, which was Ryan’s first season under House, the 42-year-old scored 300 shots for the first time in a decade and walked just 98.
He and House wanted to help Johnson. The meeting was held early in the morning before anyone came to the kingdom. The three men talked about Johnson’s mechanical issues, and House offered one key suggestion: he wanted Johnson to land on a ball instead of a heel while walking on a plate. The results were instant.
“I was losing my arm wound, I was running towards the third base, and that tip helped me maintain my balance,” Johnson said. “I did not play for the Texas Rangers, but Tommy still helped me. This meeting was very important. ”
Johnson finished the season with 117 hits in the last 11 starts, with just 47 runs and about two full-mile shaves in his era. When Johnson attributed his improvement to House.