Results tagged ‘ Nolan Ryan ’

Ryan family readies for ALCS full of friends

When the American League Championship Series gets underway Friday, Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan and executive advisor Nolan Ryan will be keeping a close eye on the battle between the Orioles and Royals.

Both teams feature familiar faces for the Ryans in the dugout, front office and coaching staff from their years in baseball. There are some former Rangers playing for the Orioles, including Chris Davis and Nelson Cruz, as well as a handful of players who came through the Ryan-owned Minor Leagues clubs in Corpus Christi and Round Rock, including Bud Norris and Jimmy Paredes.

Nolan Ryan, former president of the Rangers, is also friends with Royals legend George Brett, who was inducted in to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 alongside Ryan.

“I’ve kind of pulled for Kansas City for a while now because of the fact that I know a lot of people over there, and I’ve been watching them progress the last few years,” Nolan Ryan said.

The Ryans know plenty of people with the Royals considering the two clubs share the same Spring Training facility in Surprise, Ariz.

“The Orioles and Royals are my sentimental favorites,” Reid Ryan said. “I know a lot of guys over there, as well as John Russell, who was instrumental in my dad’s career.”

Russell, the Orioles bench coach under former Rangers manager Buck Showalter, caught Nolan Ryan’s sixth no-hitter on June 11, 1990.

“He played at [the University of Oklahoma] and so we’ve had fun over the years keeping up with him and his wife, who’s a good friend who I knew at TCU,” Reid Ryan said. “We watched him go through his Minor League managing career and Major League coaching ranks. He’s one of those guys you’re going to hear his name in the next few years as a manager candidate.”

Luhnow welcomes Ryan to Astros

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow has no inhibitions about the team’s hiring of Nolan Ryan, who’s coming aboard as an executive advisor. Ryan will assist not only Luhnow, but also president of business operations Reid Ryan in the operations of the club.

How big of a role Ryan has remains to be seen. He’s not going to be a daily fixture at Minute Maid Park because he prefers to commute occasionally from his home in Georgetown, Texas, but the Astros certainly would be wise to lean heavily on Ryan. He was the CEO of the Rangers, who were successful under his tenure, and he definitely knows a thing or two about pitching.

“He has so much experience and I think he can be used in a variety of ways,” Luhnow said Tuesday. “He definitely is going to have his opinions about our players and opinions about players on other teams. He’ll help us from a player evaluation standpoint ‘cause the more points of views you get, not only on your own players but on players you’re potentially trying to acquire outside the organization, the better off you’re going to be.

“From a player development standpoint, he’s got experience and can help us there. There’s countless areas where he can assist and help out. He’s been part of the game for so long and done so many different types of things.”

Luhnow has helped rebuild the Astros farm system the last two years, and it’s widely considered the deepest in the game. The club has sacrificed success at the Major League level to get that done, but Luhnow believes the Astros are poised to begin trending upward. The arrival of Ryan won’t hinder his plan, which is based heavily on data analysis.

“Clearly Nolan Ryan on board is huge for the city and organization,” he said. “I did spend over an hour with him [two weeks ago] and had several conversations with him prior to that as well, really trying to understand what the role would look like so he was comfortable with it and it made sense. He’s really anxious to help out, he’s anxious to be involved in various areas. The role that ultimately we created for him is going to allow him to help out across all the areas of the organization, which will maximize his impact.”

The Astros have a wealth of young, promising starting pitching – arms that will be able to learn from Ryan, as well as special advisor Roger Clemens.

“He already knows some of our players by being with the Rangers and living near Round Rock (Texas) and seeing Triple-A players and going to Corpus Christi and so forth,” Luhnow said. “He’s got a pretty good feel for our players right now.

“I do expect he’s going to deepen that understanding of our own players and be able to provide his point of view. I don’t know if he’ll go out and see players for the Draft, but our Triple-A players, Double-A, Major League players, he’ll be able to give us valuable opinions about.”

Nolan Ryan returning to Astros

Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, one of the most popular players to ever wear an Astros uniform, is returning to the organization in an advisory role, a source told on Tuesday.

The team wouldn’t confirm the agreement, but an announcement could be made later Tuesday.

Ryan met with Astros owner Jim Crane and president of business operations Reid Ryan, Nolan’s son, last month, and Nolan Ryan has been mulling an offer to return to Houston since. He worked for former owner Drayton McLane in an advisory role from 2004-08.

Nolan Ryan, citing a desire to spend more time on his ranch and with his family, stepped down as the chief executive officer of the Rangers at the end of October.

“I think to have an opportunity to work with Reid and what is an organization that is headed in the right direction and has turned the corner and the potential they have, to be involved in that would be fun and be exciting,” Nolan Ryan said last month.

Nolan Ryan grew up near Houston and pitched nine of his 27 years with the Astros (1980-88), before finishing his playing career in Arlington. He was hired by former Rangers owner Tom Hicks as club president on Feb. 6, 2008.

Ryan later joined with an ownership group put together by Chuck Greenberg that submitted the highest bid in a bankruptcy auction on Aug. 12, 2010. When Greenberg was forced out in March 2011, Ryan added the title of CEO.

Luhnow sends apology to Rangers’ Ryan, Daniels

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who created a minor stir last week when he said, while speaking at an analytical conference, that the Texas Rangers were spending in the international market like “drunken sailors,” said Thursday he had sent a direct apology Rangers president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels.

“I reached out to Jon and to Nolan because it was taken out of context,” Luhnow said. “I don’t know what they heard, but I did reach out to them and explained that it was not a dig against that organization because they’ve done a great job there.”

The Rangers opened their wallets for pitcher Yu Darvish earlier this year signed him to a six-year, $60-million deal and they have signed Dominican teenager Jairo Beras, though the deal is being reviewed by Major League Baseball to confirm Beras’ age.

Luhnow spoke last week at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, which was co-chaired by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. The conference provides a forum for industry professionals (executives and leading researchers) and students to discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry.

Rangers’ Ryan favors realignment

Rangers president Nolan Ryan held court with the Houston media prior to Wednesday’s game against the Astros at Minute Maid Park and said he would be in favor of the Astros joining the American League West if baseball decides to realign.

The Astros, according to reports earlier this month, are one of the teams being discussed as a candidate to change divisions, and perhaps even switch to the American League, if realignment is part of a new labor agreement between Major League Baseball this winter.

Ryan likes the idea of having at least one Central Time Zone in the same division as the Rangers as well as the three West Coast teams.

“We’re at a disadvantage with our television audience of having to go west so I would be in favor of adding somebody from our time zone,” Ryan said. “I think having the Astros and the Rangers in the same pennant race would really stimulate interest in baseball in the state of Texas. If it is in the best interests of the Rangers, we’d be for it.”

As far as the Astros’ impending ownership change to a group led by Jim Crane, Ryan said Crane is going to have to be patient. Ryan and his group outbid a group led by Crane and Mark Cuban to try to by the Rangers last year. Crane’s group is expected to be approved by Major League Baseball in late July or early August.

“With so many players, you’re going to have your ups and downs,” Ryan said. “You don’t do that overnight. You just have to keep as many players as possible in the pipeline because all sorts of things will happen like injuries and those types of things.”