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Crane hopeful Nolan accepts offer to join Astros

Houston's majority owner praises Hall of Famer's experience on business side

HOUSTON -- Jim Crane said the ball is in Nolan Ryan's court, regarding whether the baseball icon decides to join his son Reid and become part of the Astros organization, of which Crane is majority owner.

Ryan met with Crane and Reid Ryan, the team's president of business operations, on Tuesday to discuss the Hall of Fame pitcher's potential return to the club.

Speaking on Saturday during a college tournament -- the 2014 Houston Winter Invitational at Minute Maid Park -- Crane seemed eager for Ryan to come aboard and help the organization.

"We had a great meeting with Nolan," Crane said. "We're trying to put some parameters around on what he might be interested in. He's thinking that over, and hopefully he'll get back with us soon. The ball is in his court.

"We want him. We'd love to have him. We think he'd be a great addition to the organization."

Ryan stepped down as CEO of the Texas Rangers in October and worked in an advisory role with the Astros from 2004-08.

Crane said he wasn't sure what Ryan's role with the Astros might be, adding that Ryan's input would be valued and that he could be an asset to everyone in the organization, including general manager Jeff Luhnow.

"He'd probably advise in all aspects of the business," Crane said. "He's been at it a long time and certainly has a lot of experience on the field. [Possibly] confirming some of Jeff's decisions and working with Jeff on the baseball side. He ran the business side of the Rangers.

"Last year he came to a game, and he said your speakers are no good in the stadium. We replaced all the speakers. He was right. He picks up on stuff like that. He has a lot of experience."

Growing up in Alvin, Texas, Ryan pitched nine of his 27 Major League seasons with the Astros (1980-88) before finishing his playing career with Texas. He was hired by former Rangers owner Tom Hicks as club president in February 2008.

Richard Dean is a contributor to
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