Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Hall Of Fame Pitcher Nolan Ryan Takes The Next Big Step Of His Career

We all know a majority of the good players can't walk away from their game after they retire. They have to contribute in some, way, shape, or form.

Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan has agreed to become the Texas Rangers team president, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press.

In recent years, he has been a consultant for the Houston Astros, a former team, and part owner of two Astros minor league teams in Texas.

The person spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the team had not yet made an announcement. The agreement was first reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

It was not immediately clear how much control over personnel Ryan would have in his new role, but the all-time strikeout leader told Houston television station KRIV that he would be "over all of the Rangers baseball operations."

"This is something new for me," Ryan said. "It'd different from what I've done in the past or on the playing field."

Ryan, who had a record seven no-hitters, won 324 games in a record 27 seasons, the last five with the Rangers.

The 61-year-old Ryan replaces Jeff Cogen, who owner Tom Hicks moved to the Dallas Stars during a shake-up of his hockey team in November.

Ryan leaves the Astros with more than a year remaining on a five-year personal services contract he signed in 2004. He most recently served as special assistant to the general manager, scouting players and holding pitching camps.

Ryan's return could bring a jolt to a franchise that has struggled to stay competitive in many of the seasons since he retired in 1993.

The Rangers have finished no better than third in the AL West since 2000, although the only three playoff appearances in franchise history came after he retired in 1993. Pitching has long been a frustration; the Rangers had the fewest strikeouts in the AL last season and their team ERA ranked in the bottom five.

Texas last month bolstered is rotation by signing free agent Jason Jennings, who grew up in Dallas watching Ryan pitch. But bringing Ryan into the front office is likely to stir the most excitement among Rangers fans, many of whom still revere the Texas native.

Nolan Ryan should be their pitching coach rather than President. Between Kevin Millwood, Vincent Padilla, and Jason Jennings, the Rangers have decent pitching to work with. Even still, I'd rank them to be 3rd in their division this year. They can't equal the Angels and Mariners, at least not right now.

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