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Ryan recovering from bypass surgery

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Strikeout king Nolan Ryan was in stable condition Monday and expected to be hospitalized another week after double bypass heart surgery.

The 53-year-old Hall of Famer underwent two hours of emergency surgery Sunday at Austin Heart Hospital.

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.

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-foot by 3-foot get-well cards during three home games this week.

"It seems to be something the fans respond to," team spokesman John Blake said.

The team will send the cards to Ryan when he returns home.

Blake said the team set up similar cards when Ryan retired in 1993.

"The doctors told us he has the heart of a 30-year-old," his son Reid Ryan said. "We feel confident that he is going to recover fully."

Ryan had chest pains and trouble breathing Sunday. His wife, Ruth, drove him to Round Rock Medical Center before he was transferred to Austin Heart Hospital.

Ryan was elected to the Hall of Fame in January 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.
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