ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers are looking for a new face of the franchise.
Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, who helped spearhead the Rangers’ rise in the baseball pecking order, announced Thursday that he is resigning as the team’s CEO; Ryan’s last day with the club will be Oct. 31.
Ryan, 66, said it’s too soon to decide whether he’d take another
baseball job again but did say that he’d never be a CEO again. He is
selling his interest in the team to majority owners Ray Davis and Bob
Since Ryan took over as the team president in 2008 the Rangers went to the playoffs three consecutive years, drew more than three million fans twice and made consecutive World Series appearances.
Ryan, who was removed from the role of president during spring training but remained CEO, decided now is the time to move on.
“This closes a chapter of my life in baseball and I feel like that it’s time for me to move onto other things,” Ryan said. “It has been a decision that’s weighed on me heavily but I feel like it’s the right decision. When you make these types of decisions, you have to do it from the heart. I really feel like at this point in time it’s the correct thing for me to do.”
The team’s official announcement said Ryan was retiring but Ryan used the word resigning. It said there was no difference in the terms to him. His immediate plans are to spend time on his ranch and with his grandchildren.
Ryan contemplated retiring during spring training when it became public that his job as president was being split between Jon Daniels and Rick George. He opted to remain with the team throughout the season because of team obligations he had and said a change in title didn’t impact his decision.
“You don’t just wake up one day and make a decision of this magnitude,” Ryan said. “It was something I had been thinking about off and on for a while now. I just felt like it was probably time for me to move on. It just felt like that’s what I really needed to do.”
Both Davis and Simpson said they tried to persuade Ryan to stay with the team but Ryan’s mind was made up. Ryan said his decision had nothing to do with his relationship with Daniels and that there was nothing Simpson or Davis could have done to change his mind.
“I’ve reached that point in my life that it was time for me to move on and go into another phase of my life,” he said.
Daniels didn’t speak at the press conference but lauded Ryan for the work he’s done.
“I’ve enjoyed my time working with and learning from Nolan,” Daniels wrote in an email. “We’ve shared a lot of successes together, along with many others here. I specifically appreciate his passion for the game and the way he treats people in and out of the organization.”
Since Ryan joined the Rangers in 2008, the club has the fifth-highest winning percentage in baseball at .551. He’s also helped spearhead improvements in the fan experience at Rangers Ballpark and had a hand in the ownership group that brought the Rangers out of bankruptcy in 2010.
Whatever Ryan’s future holds, his mark with the Rangers is indelible.
“I am certain that Nolan will continue to be a great credit to MLB and an exemplary ambassador,” MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.
Simpson said the team had no plans to name a new CEO.
“We’re not looking for a replacement,” Simpson said. “It sounds a little trite but frankly Nolan Ryan’s not replaceable. What he brought to the team I don’t even think is one the market. In terms of day-to-day functions, we’re very well staffed.”