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“We had to move a lot,” the elder Ryan said. “The great thing is that every time we moved they knew their best friend was coming with them. Rex and Rob were always together.”

Of all the wild stories about the Ryans _ and there are dozens _ Rob said one of Rex’s favorites happened on a baseball diamond.

The Ryans were facing a top pitcher, who struck out Rex and then hit Rob in the middle of the back.

“I hit his dad before with a fungo bat, so the kid paid me back,” Rob said matter-of-factly.

The next time up, Rex fell behind 0-2 in the count and called timeout.

“He was only playing with one contact lens,” Rob said. “So he goes, ‘Rob give me your left contact.’ I give it to him and he plucks it in his eye and goes up and smashes a home run. I think the thing is still going. They found it in Cuba somewhere.

“He circles the bases and comes in with a big smile on his face and goes, ‘Do you want that contact back?’ I’m like, Nah, you can keep it. I think that was our best story right there.”

It won’t be the last one.