Nolan Ryan's son said his father was doing better and even took a brief walk, but U.S. major league baseball's strikeout king was still expected to be hospitalised for a week after double bypass heart surgery.
The 53-year-old Hall of Famer underwent two hours of emergency surgery Sunday at Austin Heart Hospital and was listed in stable condition Monday.
Blood tests and an electrocardiogram showed Ryan did not have a heart attack. He was considered in nearly perfect health for a man his age, but family history left him vulnerable to heart disease.
Reid Ryan said at a news conference Monday night that his father was in good spirits.
"He's doing much, much better," said the older of the pitcher's two sons. "He did get up a little while ago out of bed and walked for the first time down the hall "
Ryan said fans told him they could not believe his father had bypass surgery because they thought of him as someone who could cheat time.
"It was almost like someone brought kryptonite to Superman," Reid Ryan said.
Dr Felger, Ryans doctor said that the heart was the worst place for a blockage.
"This is one of the most serious situations," Felger said Monday night, adding that Ryan was "at risk for a significantly bad event."
Felger said he expected Ryan to have a full and speedy recovery because he's so active. Ryan walks an hour a day, lifts weights and swims.
Reese Ryan said at the news conference that it will be tough to persuade his father to slow down.
"I think that is going to be one of his biggest obstacles," Reese Ryan said.
Felger said Ryan will be restricted from driving for two weeks and should do no heavy lifting for two to three months, but may return to his regular work schedule with the minor league team of which he is a part-owner in a couple of weeks.
A sign outside El Arroyo restaurant summed up the attitude of many people about one of baseball's hardest throwers.
"Don't worry Nolan. You have the heart of a champion. Get well soon," the sign said.
At The Ballpark in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers, fans will have a chance to sign 7-by-3 foot get-well cards during three home games this week.
Ryan had chest pains and trouble breathing Sunday while he and his wife, Ruth, strolled through the new $2.5 million stadium of the Round Rock Express. The minor league team in suburban Round Rock is owned by Ryan, his son Reid and Houston businessman Don Sanders.
His wife drove him to Round Rock Medical Center before he was transferred to Austin Heart Hospital.
Ryan was elected to the Hall of Fame in Jan. 1999. He holds or shares 48 major league, American League or National League records.
He is baseball's career leader in strikeouts with 5,714 and no-hitters, with seven. He also won 324 games.
Ryan's 27 seasons in the majors are more than any player in history. He played with the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros and Rangers before retiring in 1993.
- More about:
- American League East Division
- Baseball Major League
- Blood Sample
- Family And Parenting
- Heart Disease
- Major League Baseball