When Reid Ryan, the son of legendary pitcher Nolan Ryan, became the president of business operations for the Houston Astros, there was immediately speculation that Dad would eventually join him. When Nolan Ryan "retired" as the CEO of the Texas Rangers in October, that speculation became, "just wait, it's going to happen."
Go ahead and get those "I told you so" speeches ready, because it sounds like the ex-Astros hurler is one handshake and signature away from re-joining the franchise he spent nine seasons with as a player.
The elder Ryan met with the Astros' top decision-makers Tuesday, going over what a job within the organization might look like. In the meeting, according to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle, were owner Jim Crane, general manager Jeff Luhnow and Reid Ryan. Here's some of what Ryan said afterward:
“I think it would be exciting to work with (Reid) in the Astros organization,” Nolan Ryan said. “The Astros have always had a special place in our hearts. Reid grew up around the Astros organization" ...
“I thought it went fine,” Nolan Ryan said. “I visited with (Crane) and Jeff on what the role would be. I told them I’d give it a thought and I’d get back to them in the near future.”
When asked if he had a timeframe for getting back to Crane, Nolan Ryan said he would probably decide before spring training. The Astros’ pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 15.
Ryan worked for the Astros as a special assistant after his playing career ended. He eventually left the team and became the Texas Rangers' president in 2008. He'd been with the Rangers until last season, helping rebuild a team that played in two World Series.
Houston is going through one heck of a rebuild right now too. Its top front-office jobs are locked in, so Ryan's job would be another in the vague "special assistant" category. Beyond his actual job duties, hiring Ryan would greatly benefit the Astros as a PR move. He's a name that the community (and ticket buyers) could get behind.
The Astros have lost more than 100 games in each of the past three seasons and aren't going to contend this season either. Bringing back Nolan Ryan wouldn't help on the field, but he would immediately be the most popular Houston Astro, a name everybody would know on a team without a lot of "names."
- - - - - - -