George Postolos resigned as president and CEO of the Houston Astros on Monday, returning to sports consulting work in the midst of the team’s third consecutive season of struggles.
Postolos worked for seven years with Houston businessman Jim Crane to buy a sports franchise and it wound up being the Astros. He had been Astros president and CEO since November 2011.
”I am very proud of what Jim accomplished with my help – acquiring a major league franchise with a strong and diverse ownership group, developing and implementing a good plan for the team’s future, and assembling a first-rate management team,” Postolos said. ”I look forward to helping other investors pursue their objectives in sports knowing that Jim and the Astros organization are off to a great start and well positioned for future success.”
The successes have been rare of late for Houston. The Astros entered Monday night’s game in Detroit at 10-28, the worst record in the major leagues, and Houston batters had struck out a big league-high 381 times.
The Astros lost 107 games last year and 106 in 2011. Houston is trying to avoid becoming the first team since the expansion New York Mets in the 1960s to lose 106 or more games in three straight seasons. The Astros are making the transition from the National League to the AL West, one of the toughest divisions in baseball.
Houston’s attendance plummeted to a NL-worst 1.6 million last season, its lowest total in 17 years, and the lack of major moves didn’t create much preseason buzz.
Houston’s opening-day payroll was a big league-low $27.2 million, including $21.6 million for active players and those on the disabled list. Alex Rodriguez will make more than that this year ($29 million) all by himself, according to a study of major league contracts by The Associated Press.
The Astros reached the World Series for the first time in franchise history not long ago, in 2005, but it was late in the careers of stars like Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. With management rebuilding with youth and a new manager in Bo Porter, there will be no quick fixes.
Even for a team in transition, the timing of Postolos’ departure caught Porter off guard.
”I was shocked, just because I found out the same time everybody else found out,” Porter said. ”I got to the ballpark, and the information was dropped on me. Obviously it’s completely out of my jurisdiction. I don’t even know what happened and what led to his resignation.”
According to the Astros, Postolos will be returning to his consulting practice advising investors on acquisitions and strategy in major league sports. The team credited him with leading several changes within the organization, including an overall rebranding of the team with new uniforms, colors and logos, and tweaks to the marketing and foundation departments.
He also emphasized the importance of engaging with fans.
”We appreciate George’s hard work in the acquisition of the Astros and his commitment to the organization,” Crane said. ”I’d also like to personally thank him for the assistance that he has provided to me over the last several years and wish him the best of luck.”