Nolan Ryan Accepts Position With Houston Astros

In news that isn't really all that surprising, Nolan Ryan has accepted a position with the Houston Astros.

The team said Tuesday that Ryan will serve as executive adviser to owner Jim Crane, GM Jeff Luhnow and Ryan's own son Reid who is the President of Business Operations.

Ryan was most recently the CEO of the Texas Rangers before his retirement Oct. 17, 2013.

At the time, Ryan said his retirement from the Rangers "closes a chapter of my life in baseball and I feel like time for me to move on to other things."

Ryan, who showed little regret or emotion during his resignation, repeatedly said he was at a point in his life when he wanted to spend time with his children and grandchildren and that leaving his position with the Rangers was something he'd been considering for some time.

During a question-and-answer session following his announcement last fall, Ryan was asked if he had any plans to work for any other baseball clubs, with specific mention of the Houston Astros where his son Reid is the president of the ballclub.

"I think there's a lot of speculation on that because of Reid's involvement in the Astros and my history with the Astros, but sitting here today that's not in my plans. I'm planning on going home and just kind of enjoy getting back out to the ranch and doing things that I haven't done for six years now," said Ryan last October.

The Astros said Tuesday that Ryan will attend Spring Training at some point, but didn't specify when.

The following is an unedited news release from the Houston Astros.

The Houston Astros have named Hall of Fame pitcher and former Astro Nolan Ryan as the club’s Executive Advisor, Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane announced today.

As part of his role, Ryan will serve as an adviser to Crane, General Manager Jeff Luhnow and President of Business Operations Reid Ryan. Ryan, who is Major League Baseball’s all-time strikeout leader, has over 45 seasons of experience in baseball as a player and executive.

“We’re extremely pleased to have Nolan as part of our organization,” Crane commented. “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.”

“I’m very excited to be back with the Astros,” Nolan Ryan commented. “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.” 

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 (also threw 12 one-hitters). Midway through his career, Ryan, a native of nearby Alvin, TX, 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 not 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 Texas 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 great 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 Texas 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 Rangers have seen a dramatic increase in attendance since 2008, which included reaching the 3.0 million mark for the first time in franchise history in each of the last two seasons (2012-13).

“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 (date TBA).

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