This Date In Baseball History- November 19, 1979- The Houston Astros signed free agent pitcher- Nolan Ryan to a four year contract- worth a total of 4.5 million dollars. This would make the future Hall of Famer not only the highest paid player in baseball history- but also the first to earn $1,000,000 in a season. Ryan who had pitched for the California Angels from 1972-79 became a free agent at the end of the 1979 season. He would spend most of the 1980’s with the Astros [1980-88] before finishing his career with the Texas Rangers. Was Ryan worth the money? He was worth every dime. Not only was he a great pitcher- but a big gate attraction. If he was pitching against the Pirates in those seasons- I made sure to be there. You never knew what you could see- a lot of strikeouts- and who knows- maybe a no-hitter- he had seven in his career. I also got the see what would be his final pitching win- of his career on August 15, 1993. I saw he would be pitching against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland- a friend and I made the trip knowing this could be the last opportunity Ryan- he was 46 at the time. He pitched seven innings and gave up only 2 hits- and 1 run- and only 2 strike outs- winning his 324th and final major league victory. Late in September he tore a ligament in his arm and that was the end of his 27 year career [ a record ]- Note- the final pitch he threw- the one he was injured on- was clocked at 98 MPH. Keep in mind Ryan was 46 at the time. He was a freak. Note- Ryan made headlines becoming the first $1 million dollar man in baseball – in 2021 the highest paid player in the game was the Angels Mike Trout- he made $37.1 million.