Tuesday November 13th, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon with Texas Rangers Owner and MLB Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.
For some, the chance to talk with a baseball legend might mean the chance of a lifetime. The Greenville Chamber of Commerce made this chance a reality. On Tuesday, Baseball Hall of Famer and Texas Rangers President/Owner Nolan Ryan sat down to answer questions asked by patrons at the Roy Q. Traylor Athletic Complex at Greenville High School. Greenville ISD Superintendent Don Jefferies, who has known Ryan for a number of years, helped the Chamber of Commerce get Ryan to come as a speaker.
“I was the Principal of Alvin High School from 1985 – 1993,” Jefferies said. “And during that time Nolan had a ranch there in Alvin which he had kept, and all three of his kids- Reed, Reece and Wendy, went through Alvin High School while I was the Principal.”
Jefferies, Ryan, and both their wives grew up in Alvin, TX. Jefferies said although he was from Alvin it was his wife, Linda, who literally grew up down the street from Ryan. “She was down two houses from him so basically she grew up in the same neighborhood as him,” Jefferies said.
Ryan has also included Jefferies in some of the events throughout his career. In 1992 The Los Angeles Angels retired Ryan’s number and at Ryan’s request a one thousand dollar academic scholarship was dedicated in Ryan’s honor to Alvin High School for thirty years. Jefferies was asked to come to the ceremonies to accept the scholarship donation.
Ryan and his wife Ruth have always been big supporters of Alvin high School, in fact when the new library opened in the early 1990’s, Ryan dedicated his Autobiography, “Throwing Heat” to be the first book put on the shelves.
“So we took his book that he autographed, that book was passed from him to one of my students and then through my whole student body that we snaked a whole line through the campus from the old library to the new library,” Jefferies said he also had a friend of his fly over to get an aerial photo of the event.
The luncheon held by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce was intended to help the businesses in the city of Greenville. “Everybody is going through some hard economic times. The chamber is an organization that promotes business and healthy economy and they work hard to do that,” Jefferies said about why the event was held.
At the luncheon, Jefferies gave Ryan an old Alvin High School yearbook from 1965, the year Ryan graduated. The year book is signed by a lot of his classmates. “It would be good for Nolan and his kids to have a yearbook. It will be a good family piece. It was given to me so I’m giving it to Nolan,” Jefferies said.