Today, thirty-two years ago, Nolan Ryan signed with the Texas Rangers. This signing is making him the first MLB player to have played with the original four expansion teams.
Ryan broke into the Majors with the New York Mets (inaugural season in 1962), with whom he would win the 1969 World Series. In 1972, the Mets traded Ryan to the California Angels (inaugural season in 1961), where he would play until 1979.
Ryan then signed with the Houston Astros as a free agent. The Astros also made its first strides in the Bigs in 1962 as the Colt 45s. Eventually after the 1987 season, Ryan signed with the Texas Rangers.
I hear you say: “The Rangers were no expansion team.” Yes they were. Back in 1961 the took the place of the Washington Senators that moved to Minneapolis. The new team in Washington was also called the Senators but would move to Arlington in 1972 to become the Texas Rangers. The Ageless Wonder would pitch two of his seven no-hitters with the Rangers (1990 and 1991). Four of them would be with the California Angels (1973 (2x), 1974, 1975). One would be with the Astros (1981).