This past Saturday, Hillsdale alumnus and former Collegian editor-in-chief Nolan Ryan got the surprise of his life when Texan Senator Ted Cruz tagged him in a tweet.
“I was actually recording an online class for my students, and as I was talking into my camera, I saw that my phone had buzzed and a Twitter notification popped up saying Ted Cruz and mentioned,” said Ryan. “I thought ‘that can’t be right’ and just continued teaching.”
When he checked after class, Ryan quickly realized what had happened — he had been mistaken for another Nolan Ryan, the hall-of-fame baseball player.
A Major League Baseball pitcher, Ryan played for four teams during his 27 year career and holds the current strikeout record by over 800 strikeouts. According to Professor of History Pual Moreno, a baseball fantastic and Ryan’s freshman year Western Heritage professor, he also holds the record for the most walks “because as great as he was, he also played for some pretty terrible teams.” Ryan is perhaps most famous for his fistfight with Chicago White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura on the pitcher’s mound.
The legendary baseball player also happens to be a supporter of Cruz’s recent National Child Identification Act. The Senator was sharing the baseball player’s praise of his bill in a tweet when he accidentally tagged Ryan.
Ryan promptly responded to the tweet, which has since been deleted, with a clarifying statement.
“I would be amazed if @SenTedCruz were quoting me. But believe it or not, Twitter, I’m not the record-breaking Hall of Famer who tussled with Robin Ventura.”
Because his Twitter account is verified with a blue check and linked to the profile section under the baseball player’s google search results, Ryan said he is mistaken for his famous counterpart on social media almost daily.
“It’s usually just some random person tweeting baseball trivia and tagging me in it,” said Ryan. “The one other time something like this happened was when a local Fox News station in Texas did a story with Nolan Ryan, and they mentioned me in a tweet.”
Ryan said his name also serves as an in-person conversation starter and acts as a great ice-breaker when meeting people with baseball knowledge.
“His name jumped off the page,” Moreno recalls thinking when he saw Ryan’s name on the class roster. “Your name’s actually Nolan Ryan?” Moreno remembers asking Ryan when he first met him in class.
Moreno also joked that despite Ryan’s connection to the baseball player, he never took his history of baseball class.
In an attempt to quell the flood of tags he receives, Ryan recently added a disclaimer to his Twitter bio that he is “not *that* Nolan Ryan.”
“The Ted Cruz tweet just made me laugh,” said Ryan. “I’m sure either him or his staffer searched Nolan Ryan and mine was the one verified one that came up.”