Nolan Ryan announced his retirement Thursday as CEO of the Texas Rangers. Ryan, who took over the job in 2008, can be credited with creating the most successful era of Texas Rangers baseball to date.
With Nolan Ryan at the helm Texas won their first AL Pennant in 2010 and their second in 2011. The Rangers also had their first World Series appearance and first World Series game victory in 2010, although they lost the series in 5 games to the San Francisco Giants.
During his press conference, in which Ryan announced his stepping down as the Texas Rangers’ CEO, he cited his desires to spend more time on his ranch with his children and grandchildren as reasons for his departure from Major League Baseball. “This closes a chapter of my life in baseball. I feel like it’s time for me to move on and do other things. This is a decision that has been weighing on me but I feel like it’s the right decision.”
Co-chairmen Ray Davis and Bob Simpson attended Ryan’s farewell press conference and offered kind words and memorable stories about Nolan. Bob Simpson personally named Ryan as “the greatest pitcher of all-time” and Davis said that he gave it all he could to get Nolan Ryan to change his mind but that he wouldn’t be swayed. “We’re disappointed in the decision he’s made, but we understand it and now we’ll turn the page and wish him well for him and his family and wish the Rangers well as well.” Davis and Simpson bought out Ryan’s share of the organization and are excited for the next season to start. They will be looking to pick up a right-handed catcher during the offseason to enhance the Rangers’ lineup.
Over the last six years with Nolan Ryan serving as CEO the Rangers’ fan base has grown significantly. The past two seasons have each seen over 3 million fans packed into the Ballpark in Arlington thanks to the many renovations that Ryan spearheaded, including new scoreboards.
When asked if he thought there would be any backlash from Rangers fans regarding Ryan’s departure Simpson said, “There will be some backlash because of who the man is,” he continued, “I would ask that it’s not lasting. We’ll work hard to continue to bring a quality product to the field that fans have become accustomed to… It’s understandable that some fans love the man and want to see him here.”
Moving forward Simpson and Davis do not intend on replacing Nolan right away. They both agreed that they were extremely satisfied with the work Ryan was able to accomplish in his six years as CEO. “We have great staff in place that Ray and I will probably step up our time a little bit at least for a little while until things are pocketed a little better. But we’re not looking for a replacement.”