Who Brings Knives to TSA Checkpoints? Even Baseball Legends

Screeners at Austin-Bergstrom Airport uncover 3.25-inch blade in Nolan Ryan's luggage


Baseball legend Nolan Ryan surrendered a pocketknife Tuesday while boarding a flight at Austin-Bergstrom Airport, officials said.

Ryan, a Hall of Famer who ended his career with the Rangers, was not detained. Airport police were summoned to a check-in desk after workers with the Transportation Security Administration noticed the knife in Ryan's carry-on bag.

On Wednesday, TSA spokeswoman Andrea McCauley said police are routinely dispatched when TSA workers believe that a knife might be longer than 3 inches.

Ryan's knife had a 3.25-inch-long blade, said Leslie Schneiweiss, a spokeswoman for the airport.

"No law enforcement action was taken," Schneiweiss said. "Airport police said he didn't know he had it in the bag and he surrendered it to police."

McCauley said no knives are allowed on U.S. flights. Owners can surrender them or put them in checked baggage, she said.

Schneiweiss added that the Austin airport operates a program in which owners can mail knives or other prohibited items to themselves.

"We couldn't speculate on why people bring knives to a checkpoint," McCauley said, "but regardless if they're small or large, you don't get to take them on the aircraft."

Ryan could not be reached for comment. Sherry Clawson, his assistant, said Wednesday that he was out of town at a cattle sale.

Ryan played in the major leagues from 1966 to 1993, and his last five seasons were with the Rangers. He had 324 career victories and 5,714 strikeouts, making him the baseball's all-time major-league strikeout leader. He also pitched seven no-hitters and 12 one-hitters.

These days, Ryan lives in Williamson County and is principal owner of the Round Rock Express, a Triple A affiliate of the Houston Astros, and the Hooks, the Astros' Double A franchise in Corpus Christi.

(c) 2005 Associated Press