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Caravan stop in Alvin brings back memories for Ryan

Caravan stop in Alvin brings back memories for Ryan

ALVIN, Texas -- When he was younger, Reid Ryan used to ride his bike around the streets that border what is now the Nolan Ryan Welcome Center in his hometown, just south of Houston. That made the exhibit located on the campus of Alvin Community College a perfect spot for an Astros Caravan stop on Tuesday.

Ryan, who grew up in the same hometown as his Hall of Fame father, joined pitchers Brett Oberholtzer and Anthony Bass, former pitcher Doug Brocail and Hall of Fame announcer Milo Hamilton on a tour through the small town.

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The Caravan began with a visit to Whataburger before Reid Ryan, the Astros president of business operations, gave Oberholtzer and Bass a tour of the exhibit that includes Nolan Ryan memorabilia from his days growing up in Alvin and in the Major Leagues.

The group raised an Astros flag outside the center.

"This is very exciting to be back in Alvin and my hometown," said Ryan, who addressed the Alvin Lions Club later in the day at Joe's Barbeque Company. "There are so many wonderful memories here and so many wonderful people."

Hamilton has some fond memories of Alvin, as well. He used to drive to the town to ride with Nolan on hunting trips to south Texas.

"I used to come out here about 4:30 in the morning and get in Nolan's pickup and put Betsy [a dog] in the back and we'd go down to Corpus Christi, Hebronville and George West and go bird hunting," Hamilton said.

Oberholtzer said the trip was meaningful considering he grew up idolizing Ryan at a young age.

"He's a guy a lot of us wanted to be like," he said. "He was intimidating. I was a fan of him. I was a big fan of Roger Clemens, and he emulated Nolan Ryan a lot. It's just great. It means a lot for us to pay homage to the people that have done it before us, and Nolan Ryan is the epitome of that. "

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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