Looking at the stats of the former OF, the Philadelphia native made his debut in the National Association in 1873 for the Philadephia Whites. The next season, the 20 year old would hit just .193 in 47 games for the Baltimore Canaries while leading the NA in strikeouts with 13. After hitting just .158 for the NA's New Haven Elm Citys, he joined the Louisville Grays of this new thing called the "National League" which started in the year of 1876. This National League is the same one that we watch right now in the year of 2014.
Pitching was not foreign to the young man either. He made a forgetful relief appearance for the Canaries in 1874 where he gave up 8 runs, 6 earned in 3 1/3 innings pitched. The following season for New Haven, Ryan went 1-5, 3.19 in 10 games, 6 starts. Though the "ERA" was low, it needs to be noted that he gave up 55 runs and 70 hits in his 59 1/3 innings for the Elm Citys that season. However, only 21 of the runs were considered earned.
The OF would be the primary LF for the Grays throughout the 1876 season. He would play in 64 games, hitting .253 while leading the circuit with 23 strikeouts. While the game in question was the only one he ever pitched in the NL, he did return for the 1877 season, playing for the Cincinnati Reds at age 23. After going 4-26 (.154), Ryan stopped playing baseball and became a Philadelphia police officer. Sadly, in 1902, he was fatally struck by a prisoner trying to break up a bar fight in Philadelphia. Apparently, he was kicked by a person who was just arrested which resulted in Johnny Ryan's death at the age of 48.