J.R. Richard and Nolan Ryan
Coming off an incredible 313 strikeout season in 1979, J.R. Richard was joined by Nolan Ryan in Houston in 1980 to form one of the best front ends of any pitching rotation in baseball. Richard suffered a life-threatening stroke before a Jul. 30 game, however, ending his season and ultimately his career. Inspired by his plight, Ryan and the rest of the Astros advanced to the NLCS before losing to the Phillies.