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Ryan weighing pros and cons of joining Astros

Hall of Famer would work with son if he signs on with former club

Four months shy of his 47th birthday, Nolan Ryan put on a big league uniform for the final time. He still had the desire and enjoyed the challenge of competition, but physically, his body made it clear it was time for him to retire.

Now 67, Ryan hasn't lost the competitive drive that earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame.

That, as much as anything, is something he will have to deal with as he considers the opportunity to join the Houston Astros, where his son Reid is the team president. Astros owner Jim Crane, general manager Jeff Luhnow and the younger Ryan met with the baseball legend last week to express their hope he would join the organization.

Nolan Ryan grew up in Alvin, Texas, just down the road from Houston, spent nine of his 27 Major League seasons pitching for the Astros, and after his retirement served as an adviser to former Astros owner Drayton McLane from 2004-08.

Most recently, he was with the Texas Rangers -- at one point serving as president/CEO of the franchise where he spent his final five seasons as a player. Last spring, the Rangers restructured their management team, and Ryan became solely the CEO, prior to resigning in October.

In the role he last filled with the Rangers, much like the job he had with the Astros under McLane, Ryan didn't have his hand in the daily operation of the team. It wasn't a fit.

Whether it's herding cattle or activities in baseball, Ryan has always carried his share of the workload -- and that will factor into whether he accepts a position with the Astros or not.

He will have to feel that Luhnow and his staff -- which is focused on the statistical aspect of baseball -- would accept his involvement, something that became an issue with the baseball operation in Texas. More importantly, he will have to be confident that his presence won't overshadow his son's role.

Reid Ryan has made a name for himself within the game with the successful way he operated the family's two Minor League franchises. He has been a welcome addition to the Astros' management team with his people skills.

Super time

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will become the eighth quarterback who was selected in MLB's First-Year Player Draft to play in a Super Bowl. The previous seven have combined to make 16 appearances -- five each by Tom Brady (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLII and XLVI) and John Elway (XXI, XXII, XXIV, XXXII and XXXIII), two by Joe Theismann (XVII and XVIII) and once each for Colin Kaepernick (XLVII), Kerry Collins (XXXV), Dan Marino (XIX) and Ken Stabler (XI).

Wilson, a 41st-round pick of Baltimore in 2007 and fourth-round selection by Colorado in 2010, and Elway, a 18th-round choice of Kansas City in 1979 and second-round pick of the Yankees in 1981, are the only two who actually played pro baseball.

Stabler was selected in the 10th round by the Yankees in 1966, the 11th round of the secondary phase of the 1967 January Draft by the Mets, and second round by Houston in the regular phase of the 1968 January Draft. Kaepernick was taken in the 43rd round by the Cubs in 2009; Brady in the 18th round by Montreal in 1995; Collins in the 26th round by Detroit in 1990 and 60th round by the Tigers in 1991; Marino in the fourth round by Kansas City 1979; and Theismann in the 39th round by Minnesota in 1971.

Title talk

Since the advent of divisional play in 1969 there have been 10 teams that have yet to win a World Series: Cleveland, the Chicago Cubs and eight expansion franchises, Tampa Bay, Houston, Texas, Seattle, Washington, Milwaukee, Colorado and San Diego.

The Indians and Cubs have, however, been world champions twice. Cleveland won the World Series in 1920 and 1948, and the Cubs won in 1907 and '08.

Since 1969, the Yankees have won seven of their record 27 world championships, Oakland has won four and Boston, St. Louis and Cincinnati, three apiece. The American League has won 24 World Series and the National League 20.


Bronson Arroyo, still on the free-agent market, is the only pitcher in baseball to make at least 30 starts and pitch at least 199 innings in each of the last nine seasons. He ranks sixth, however, in the nine seasons in wins with 119, compared to CC Sabathia's Major League-leading 151.

Arroyo is third in innings pitched (1,895 2/3) behind Sabathia (1,999 1/3) and Dan Haren (1,927 2/3).

Haren, who has made 30 or more starts the last nine seasons but fell short of 180 innings the last two years, also has 123 wins over that stretch, which is fourth among big league pitchers.

The righty, who will pitch at 33 this year, is probably a better benchmark for Arroyo, 37, than any other pitcher, which might explain why Arroyo has not received the multi-year offer he anticipated.

Haren signed a one-year guarantee with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $10 million, plus a $10 million option for 2015 that vests at 180 innings pitched in 2014.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for
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