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Ryan returning to Astros as executive advisor

The SportsXchange

The Houston Astros named Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan as the club's executive advisor, owner and chairman Jim Crane announced Tuesday.

As part of his role, Ryan, 67, will serve as an advisor to Crane, general manager Jeff Luhnow and president of business operations Reid Ryan, Nolan's son.

Nolan Ryan, who is the all-time strikeout leader, has over 45 seasons of experience in baseball as a player and executive.

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

"We're extremely pleased to have Nolan as part of our organization," Crane said in a statement. "We will use his experience, expertise and knowledge to improve the Astros in all areas. He will be an integral part of our management team. Nolan wants to be a part of our success moving forward."

Throughout his storied career, Ryan has achieved success in baseball both on and off the field. As a pitcher, he was one of the best ever, tallying 324 career wins in his major league record 27-year career while establishing all-time records in strikeouts (5,714) and no-hitters with seven. He also threw 12 one-hitters.

"I'm very excited to be back with the Astros," Ryan said "I'm happy to assist Jim, Jeff and Reid in any way I can. The Astros have a solid foundation with a strong farm system. I think the future is bright for Houston and I'm looking forward to my involvement."

Midway through his career, Ryan, a native of nearby Alvin, Texas, signed with the Astros prior to the 1980 season, and would pitch for nine seasons (1980-88) in Houston, his most for any club.

Prior to his arrival, the Astros had never made the postseason in their history. However, in his nine seasons, Houston made the playoffs three times (1980, 1981, 1986), falling just shy of the NL pennant in both 1980 and 1986.

On July 25, 1999, Ryan was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in what was his first year of eligibility.

After retiring as a player following the 1993 season, Ryan worked in the Rangers' front office before returning to the Astros as special assistant to the general manager in February of 2004. In his first two seasons back with Houston, the Astros enjoyed success, falling one game shy of winning the NL pennant in 2004 before capturing the pennant in 2005 to become the first team from Texas ever to play in a World Series.

"Nolan Ryan's experience and insights will help us on the baseball side -- both in terms of decision-making and in maximizing the productivity of our players," Luhnow said. "I'm fortunate as a general manager to get advice and guidance from great former players and Astros -- Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens and now Nolan Ryan."

In February of 2008, Ryan was named president of the Rangers and would go on to play a pivotal role in the most successful run in that franchise's history, which included back-to-back appearances in the World Series (2010-11).

"The opportunity to work with my father is very special," Reid Ryan said. "He's had success in baseball on many levels and will be a great addition to our organization. He will be an extremely valuable asset to us."

Nolan Ryan will be in spring training camp at some point in the upcoming weeks.

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