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In 1991, Ryan, our son, age 6 at the time, played Challenger Baseball, a modified version of the game for disabled children. At the end of the season, each child received an official Challenger baseball for his or her participation.

We asked Ryan what he wanted to do with his; put it in a frame or case, or just play with it. He said he wanted to give it to his hero, Nolan Ryan, who was, at that time, a Texas Ranger baseball player.

Ryan wrote Nolan and we sent the letter to Nolan Ryan, General Delivery, Alvin Texas 77511, supposing it was near his home. Not long after that, we received an invitation to meet Nolan Ryan and free tickets to the Ranger game. We got to meet the legend himself. In my opinion, we met the best.

Ryan handed Nolan a gift bag, and inside was a Ryan White autographed Challenger baseball. I am thinking that through the years, many people have asked Nolan Ryan for autographed baseballs, caps, gloves, shirts and anything else they could think of. I am also thinking that he has received few autographed Challenger baseballs.

That afternoon, we spent a little less than an hour with the legend, the best. Then we watched the Ranger game from prime seats.

I was a softball player at the time. My time with Nolan Ryan didn't make me a better softball player. Ryan's time with...

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