The Worst Kept Secret

He's made it back to Houston as predicted. Photo Courtesy: Darryl Briggs.
He’s made it back to Houston as predicted. Photo Courtesy: Darryl Briggs

By Will Martin

Feel free to include me as among the many that knew 1 year ago that it wasn’t going to be a matter of ‘if’, only ‘when’ a certain Texas Hall Of Famer would get to return home for a second time and be of invaluable usage to the staff and team at hand.

No doubt it also helped when son Reid was named President of Business Operations.

Blood is after all thicker than water. The writing was on the wall so to speak.

Last March when it was determined that Jon Daniels had essentially taken the reins from Nolan Ryan-hence that ‘we want to go in a different direction’-it was only a matter of time before the final stop in the Train’s storied career as a player and front office guy would finish where it began back in 1980.

Houston Texas with the Astros now in the American League.

One of the great things about producing a winner on the field and going to two straight World Series is that you have built a fan base.

To the tune of over 3 million a year in Arlington. Since 2008 Nolan Ryan was instrumental in making the post season a reality.

Nolan now gets that chance in Houston!

It was announced early on February 11th that Nolan Ryan indeed has accepted a position to be an Executive Advisor to the Astros. The team with the #1 ranked minor league farm system of players according to many experts in the know!

As part of his role, Ryan will serve as an advisor 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.”

Jeff Luhnow is very excited about the newest acquisition.

“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.”

This in a way shall be a homecoming of sorts for Nolan Ryan. Ten years ago when he came to Houston in a front office role the Astros would get to 1 game of a pennant before becoming the 1st Texas team to play in a World Series in 2005. In nine seasons as an Astros hurler from 1980-1988 Houston went to the playoffs three times and almost reached the World Series in 1980 and 1986.

Reid Ryan is it going to be weird working alongside your Dad?

“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.”

For some reason I don’t see the Astros being 2-17 against the Rangers anymore or 4-15 against the front-running Athletics from 2014 onward.

In addition to having input in baseball and business operations on a much smaller scale than with the Rangers, you can expect to see Nolan make an appearance in Florida when Spring Training commences later in the week.

Old school Rangers fans might not be happy with this, but then again I remind you: Baseball like life is a business. You try to do things differently and see what kind of result you acquire. The Rangers had a fun run for 4 years.

The A.L. West is now going to get even more interesting with almost 50 years of diamond acumen courtesy of Hall Of Famer Nolan Ryan now back in Houston.

Best of luck and welcome home. We saw this coming 1 year ago during Spring Training.