Nolan Ryan is rejoining the Houston Astros, the team on which he starred for nine seasons. And it won't be as the club's fifth starter, as some have joked.
Ryan has taken a job with the Astros as an executive advisor, working directly with owner Jim Crane. When Ryan "retired" as CEO of the Texas Rangers, ending up in Houston again seemed like a logical next move. His son, Reid Ryan, had recently been named the Astros' president of business operations and Nolan remains a beloved Astro to this day.
Plus, there was no indication that he was actually finished with working in a baseball front office. Ryan, 67, didn't "retire" as much as he broke up with the Rangers and their president/general manager Jon Daniels. The two had clashed in recent years, as Daniels ascended in the Rangers organization.
Ryan met the Astros in late January. They offered him a job. He said at the time the Astros had a special place in his heart, but he would take some time to decide.
"I'm very excited to be back with the Astros," Ryan said in a statement. "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."
Crane said in a statement: 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."
If he does nothing at all but collect a paycheck, bringing Ryan back into the fold will be a win for the Astros. The PR that comes with Nolan Ryan being an Astro again is huge. On a team that doesn't have many — OK, zero — stars, Ryan automatically becomes Houston's most famous name.
Beyond that, Ryan's front-office track record is good. He helped rebuild the Rangers and take the team to its first two World Series appearances. The stakes aren't as high in Houston these days as they are in Arlington. But as the Astros rebuild, having Ryan around will at least give fans a familiar to associate with the team while they patiently wait for success.
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