It was the early 90s and the corporate synergy stars aligned when Sports Illustrated, Kellogg's and DC Comics decided to mash themselves together into a chunky paste they called "Tony's Sports Comics." The concept involved the legendary Frosted Flakes mascot teaming up with sports stars to encourage kids to get active and burn off the calories they racked up from, say...I don't know...various sugar frosted cereals?
I've seen other examples with Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Ozzie Smith but, of course, the one I'm most interested in features the great Nolan Ryan. He played for both the Astros and the Rangers and is one of the top Texas sports icons of all time.
Our story begins in Cooperstown with Nolan and Tony visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame. They notice a weirdo talking to the Babe Ruth statue and decide to intervene. Young Paul wants to make it to the big leagues some day but he's weak in the hitting department. Nolan tells him about some great former players that also couldn't hit worth a darn but it's hardly a comfort and Paul bolts.
Swing and a miss for the would-be mentor. But Tony is right there for his bro and he's raring to go track down that kid and
But enough grandstanding! It's time to track down that kid whose name I think is Paul. Let's face it, between the All-Star pitcher and the cereal mascot, he was kind of forgettable. Once they eventually catch up with him they suggest that maybe hitting just isn't his thing...but what about pitching?
Now that these two have totally inserted themselves in this kid's life, it was time to start the hard work. The comic seems to genuinely try to include actual exercise/training information, or at least I think it does. But since I don't know anything about training to be a pitcher I couldn't tell you if anything is actually accurate. But there's something about learning a desirable skill form a freebie promotional comic book that seems very natural to me. That being said, you'll never guess what training for the big leagues involves starting your day with...
Start the training montage! If you like stories about weight training, stretching, fastball grips and form on the mound then this is the story for you! Tony and Nolan (mainly Nolan) go over the fundamentals with Paul and they practice, practice, practice! Or they just tell him to practice and then go back to their respective ranches. I know Nolan has a ranch and I assume Tony has one too...filled with delicious sugar frosted antelopes and gazelles (with some sliced bananas to keep it healthy)!
Game time! Later at a impromptu playground ball game, one of the kids gets called home for dinner (perhaps a cross-over story followed up in a Kraft Cheesasaurus Rex comic?) so Paul gets his big shot at the mound. And, wouldn't you know it, Nolan & Tony's advice pays off! Paul struck out the batter and I learned the term "whiffed." But that's not all...