Arlington Power Struggle: Jon Daniels vs. Nolan Ryan

This week, Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that there’s been a major power struggle in Arlington. Here’s what happened: back in November, the Rangers decided to give Jon Daniels a promotion to CEO — Nolan Ryan’s current title. Daniels declined, and so Daniels took a promotion to president of baseball operations.

Maury Brown notes that the promotion is a way of giving Daniels more job security: “Ask yourself when the last time a President of Baseball Operations was fired? With the exception of Tal Smith of the Astros (which was about a new owner coming in and putting his stamp on the club), you just don’t see it.”

But within the last few days matters have come to a head. Ryan apparently feels shunted aside, and that appears to be because he partly is being shunted aside. Ryan has received a lot of public credit for the Rangers’ resurgence since he was hired as president in 2008 and became a minority owner in 2010. According to Galloway, Ryan has also seriously meddled in Daniels’s affairs, as Ryan directly hired bench coach Jackie Moore and pitching coach Mike Maddux. Galloway doesn’t report on whether Daniels took personal offense, but “it’s been a heavy sticking point for some of Daniels’ assistants,” and when underlings are unhappy that usually means the boss is unhappy. This is a nasty little power struggle. What happened?

Daniels is taking the high road, since he already has all the power he wants. “I don’t want him to leave,” Daniels told ESPN Radio. “Effectively I [have final say]. But he has the ability to veto something, I think.”

Many have noted that this appears to mirror what happened two years ago, when Nolan Ryan forced out CEO Chuck Greenberg, seven months after Ryan and Greenberg had assembled an ownership team to buy the Rangers. After orchestrating Greenberg’s ouster, Ryan took the title of CEO while retaining the title of president.

That also set up what columnist Evan Grant calls an “unnecessary” clash in 2013. “The Rangers never should have given Ryan two titles when Chuck Greenberg was pushed out of the organization,” Grant writes in the Dallas Morning-News. “He should have moved into the CEO’s role then and the current array of titles could have been divided up then.”

Part of the problem with analyzing this from the outside is, it’s hard to figure out just how much credit Nolan Ryan actually deserves for the Rangers’ success in recent years, or their collapse down the stretch last fall. What’s more, this palace intrigue may not affect the on-field product in 2013. David Murphy predicted that the team would be unfazed:

I don’t think it’s an issue. We’ve had plenty of distractions over the years that haven’t become issues. I think an issue with a player is one thing but if it’s something that deals with the front office, that’s not an issue. We have absolutely no control over that.

Ryan receives a lot of credit from reporters and people within the game for the team’s success, but I’m not exactly sure what he deserves that credit for. Most of the stories about Ryan have noted his hiring of Maddux, but that’s a decision that probably should have been made by the general manager.

Similarly, writes Star-Telegram columnist Gil Lebreton, “It had to be somewhat of a blow when, in the flush of back-to-back World Series appearances, longtime Astros executive Tim Purpura was thrust into the middle of the organization chart as senior director of player development.”

In recent days, numerous columns have been written to praise the moves that Ryan has made, and they inevitably discuss the Purpura and Maddux hirings — hirings that probably should have been made by the general manager, and will be made by team president Jon Daniels from here on out. The rest of the plaudits boil down to platitudes, praising Nolan Ryan for how much he matters to the state of Texas or just how famous he is.

“Nolan Ryan brought the Rangers credibility,” writes MLB.com’s Richard Justice. “We all know Ryan’s importance to the Rangers,” writes ESPNDallas.com’s Jean-Jacques Taylor. Ryan “might be the most famous Texan of all time, ahead of even Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin,” writes Ken Rosenthal. Tim Kurkjian worries that fans will revolt, calling Ryan “the most important and the most popular Texas Ranger ever.”

I don’t live in Texas, so I’m not in a good position to evaluate whether or not he is indeed the most popular Texas Ranger in team history. He may be in that position now, following the release of the Mitchell Report, considering that many of the greatest players in team history have been connected to performance-enhancing drugs, including Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, Alex Rodriguez, and the single best player in team history, Ivan Rodriguez.

But that’s revisionist history. Moreover, before he rejoined the team in 2008, Nolan Ryan wasn’t particularly identified with the Rangers, who were only the team he retired with. Nolan Ryan was only a Ranger for five of his 27 seasons. He spent twice as much time in Houston, and went into the Hall of Fame as an Angel though he went into the Hall of Fame as a Ranger. The greatest Texas Rangers pitcher was Charlie Hough.

But Ryan had a great nickname for his fastball, seven no-hitters, and a first-ballot induction into the Hall of Fame; naturally, he was more famous than most other people connected to the team, and has remained so. Has Ryan notably benefited the team other than to lend his fame and credibility?

“First off, this notion that Ryan is just some figurehead is a bit overstated,” writes Maury Brown. “He’s a great scouting mind, so you lose that. … Would it impact attendance? Marginally.” Moreover, credibility may be hard to quantify but that doesn’t mean that it’s valueless. Ryan helped stabilize a franchise that was rudderless in the wake of Tom Hicks’s ownership, and he commanded and maintained the respect of all the players in the organization. He was also more or less smart enough to let Jon Daniels have his way most of the time.

But he meddled, and he had too many titles, and Daniels deserved to have greater autonomy, so Ryan’s fellow owners rather thoughtlessly promoted Daniels a bit too close to Ryan’s domain. They probably never wanted to push Ryan out, but everyone recognizes that of the two, Daniels was more valuable. The team making this move without consulting him would likely have injured his pride.

For now, Nolan is staying mum, and many writers used to access have taken notice. “Ryan, one of the most accessible-to-the-media jockdom executives in the United States of America, suddenly stopped taking phone calls for six days,” writes Galloway. “What does that leave for Nolan Ryan as CEO?” asks the Morning News’s Tim Cowlishaw. “It’s a question that remains unanswered seven days later for the simple reason that Ryan refuses to behave a like a CEO.”

Nolan Ryan is almost certainly thinking about appearances. “Ryan absolutely would not retire from the Rangers,” Galloway writes, citing anonymous sources. “If he leaves it will be because the owners no longer wanted him in the role he originally had.”

That’s a bit of a contradiction in terms: the owners have already indicated that they don’t want him in the role he originally had, and now Ryan is mulling over how he wants to respond. If Ryan leaves the team in a huff, then he will look like he justified the team’s actions, but if he can find a way to get fired or forced out, then he will look like the aggrieved party. That would look good for him. If he stays, then his authority will have been notably lessened. But the Rangers are moving on. The coup is over. The Texas Rangers have been Jon Daniels’s team since 2005, and they will remain his team.




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Alex is a writer for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times, and is a product manager for The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @alexremington.


70 Responses to “Arlington Power Struggle: Jon Daniels vs. Nolan Ryan”

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  1. Dirk Diggler says:

    You might want to check your facts on which team Ryan went into the HOF as.

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  2. CJ in Austin Tx says:

    More famous than Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston? Give me a break with the hyperbole, Rosenthal.

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      George W. Bush (adopted), Lyndon Johnson, Joan Crawford, Tommy Lee Jones, Gene Roddenberry, Steve Martin, Buddy Holly, Scott “The Entertainer” Joplin, Howard Hughes… heck even fellow Texas baseball players Rogers Hornsby and Frank Robinson.

      And then of course there’s Willie Nelson.

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      • l1ay says:

        No baseball player is more famous than Ryan in Texas. Some of those other people, probably. Any other baseball player? Absolutely not.

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        • El Vigilante says:

          That list of more famous Texans is laughable. Not only did Nolan play a significant portion of his career in Texas, but he is a true Texas archetype. He has his own cattle ranch and beef company.

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        • johng says:

          That’s like being the tallest midget. Texas baseball is probably the 5th biggest sport behind NFL, NASCAR, college football, and anything else.

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        • Balthazar says:

          Backing up what El Vigilante says, Nolan Ryan is the most famous _Texas born, Texas residing_ baseball player still living. Ryan has always lived there, even though with his money and status he could have moved anywhere he wanted to. Ryan also came back to Texas in the second half of his career when he also could have played anywhere he wanted to. The rest of the US minght not care about that, but Texans do. Ryan also got involved in extracting the Rangers from the wreckage that was Hicks because it was a good thing to do _for Texas_.

          There’s Clemens, of course, but not only is his status significantly tainted, he spent most of his career elsewhere. And Ryan’s career was just better even so.

          I have no idea whether the other owners find Daniels more important than Nolan Ryan. I strongly suspect that they feel that _they_ are more important than Nolan Ryan, i.e. he’s got a little slice but has been the show. Andy THEY resent that, or at the very least think that’s unwise. It doesn’t seem a ‘coup of Daniels’ but rather the rest of the owners cutting Ryan’s anchor line. And that, it seeems to me, is why Ryan is holding his cards close to his vest while he decides how to play this: his backers have dumped him. I suspect Ryan could win vs. Daniels but he can’t win vs. the rest of the owners.

          While I’ve never been a huge fan of Ryan’s, I suspect he will be missed more than the tenor of this post suggests. The degree to which Ryan influenced key personell moves behind the scenes is hard to assess, but we do know one fact: he’s a meddler, i.e. he’s been hands on when critical decisions for the functioning of the franchise have had to be made. My guess is that Ryan’s thumb has been on the scale regarding major league talent brought in or sent out, if less so on the player development side. It bears recalling that the Rangers were still chronic underperformers before Ryan settled into the exec suite, even when Jon Daniels was there. I don’t want to make to much of that, but the intimation in this post that Ryan ‘didn’t really do anything’ is a) impossible to test on available information, and b) will get some test to the contrary now that Ryan is pushed further out of decision making. And there is a definite ‘too many cooks’ reverberation around the Rangers in all this; consider their past offseason, and how _lacking_ in a decisive play their actions seemed to be. That has the potential to get much worse before it gets any better.

          All just speculation, I’ll admit . . . .

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        • PEDs or no, Roger Clemens’s playing career is miles better than Nolan Ryan’s.

          You’re right, I have no way of knowing how integral Ryan has been to the Rangers’ successful player development, and it’s possible he has been very integral indeed. But that’s not what most people seem to think.

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        • Jason says:

          How is Clemens’ playing career better than Ryan’s? Aside from # of Wins, k/bb and World Series Titles, Ryan beats him in every way.

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        • Roger Clemens: 145.5 WAR
          Nolan Ryan: 111.5 WAR

          Roger Clemens: 70 FIP-
          Nolan Ryan: 84 FIP-

          Roger Clemens: 70 ERA-
          Nolan Ryan: 90 ERA-

          Roger Clemens: 11 All-Star Games
          Nolan Ryan: 8 All-Star Games

          Roger Clemens: 7 Cy Young Awards
          Nolan Ryan: 0 Cy Young Awards

          It really isn’t close.

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        • Jason says:

          I’m not really a fan of using season comparitive stats when comparing players from different time periods. (Yes, they did play concurrently for 9 years.)
          K%
          Ryan 25.3
          Clemens 23.1
          FIP
          Ryan 2.97
          Clemens 3.09
          Complete games/Shut Outs
          Ryan 222/61
          Clemens 118/46

          I’m not going to continue arguing, I just don’t feel like Clemens career is “clearly better”.

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        • Jason B says:

          Yes, Clemens is “clearly better”. Remember to compare using stats that normalize for the offensive era that the players played in. It’s not particularly close.

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        • Don’t use FIP to compare across eras. Use FIP-.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Stone Cold Steve Austin, aka The Texas Rattlesnake, should be on that list … if we’re talking popularity and being well-known.

        Yes, I feel a little shame for being the guy that brought up a pro wrestling personality …. but SCSA is mega-popular and from Texas.

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      • Wobatus says:

        Happy birthday Ornette Coleman, from Fort Worth.

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    • joser says:

      No kidding. Among the general public Davey Crockett is probably a more famous “Texan” than Nolan Ryan.

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      • steve-o says:

        Most people also know Davy Crockett is a Tennessean.

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        • joser says:

          Hence the quotes. And my point stands.

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        • CircleChange11 says:

          Most people?

          I’d love to walk around collecting $5 from everyone that cannot correctly answer “Which state is Davey Crockett from?”

          There’s probably quite a few people that would say John Wayne is the most famous Texan. Go figure.

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      • johng says:

        David Koresh is probably the most popular Texan ever. If Nolan Ryan got into an armed standoff with the ATF, then maybe.

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    • cs3 says:

      No Texas Ranger is more than famous than Chuck Norris

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    • Michael Scarn says:

      Tom Landry

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  3. I just got off the phone with Nolan, and here is his comment:

    “Nobody told me I was in competition. If there is competition, somebody better let me know … If it is, then I’m going into ‘Operation Shutdown.’ Tell them exactly what I said. I haven’t competed for a job since 1991.”

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  4. I.P. Freely says:

    Yeah, he definitely went in as a Ranger. They signed him to a contract that essentially bought his going in as a Ranger. While the Winfield situation ultimately led to them changing the rules, it was the Rangers and Ryan that really got that ball rolling.

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  5. matt says:

    More famous than Walker? He had his own show…

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  6. K says:

    Good article

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  7. El Vigilante says:

    You are misjudging the love North Texas have for Nolan. For a Rangers franchise that had no playoff berths until 1995 and no postseason series victories until 2010, the most iconic moments are the Nolan moments: 2 no-hitters, reaching the 5000K and 300W milestones, and the fight with Robin Ventura. Charlie Hough doesn’t invoke the same bright memories. You probably should’ve stopped at “I don’t live in Texas” before typing the next two paragraphs.

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    • There’s no doubting that Nolan Ryan is an icon. But he had a much better career as an Astro than he did as a Ranger, and that ain’t north Texas. Like I said, it’s revisionist history. Fans are entitled to their memories, but at least in terms of wins, Nolan Ryan meant a lot more to the Astros and Angels than he did to the Rangers.

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      • El Vigilante says:

        And that has what to do with his popularity as a Ranger? The two paragraphs in question were led by a handful of quotes on his popularity and importance among Rangers fans. His tenure for other organizations and the feelings of those fans has nothing to do with this. Nothing about Nolan’s popularity in North Texas deals with revisionist history. The most telling part of that paragraph probably isn’t even “I don’t live in Texas” but rather the inclusion of ARod.

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        • Either you’re misinterpreting me, or I’m misinterpreting you. I have no doubt that Ryan’s popular. What I’m saying is that, though I stipulate that he’s popular, I am not sure that he has done all that much as a Ranger. The people who praise him generally tend to praise him for being “important” or “beloved,” without offering any specifics other than to say that he has a lot of fans in North Texas. Or they bring up the Maddux hiring, which was problematic in terms of chain of command, or the Ventura brawl or the two no-hitters, which were just individual moments, memorable though they may be.

          Look: I get that Nolan Ryan is super-popular. But Toby Harrah had a much, much better career as a Ranger. Charlie Hough had a better career as a Ranger. Rusty Greer had a better career as a Ranger. Buddy Bell had a better career as a Ranger. Alex Rodriguez may have used performance-enhancing drugs, but his performance was spectacular in Arlington, and it would be revisionist history to claim otherwise.

          North Texas fans can idolize Nolan Ryan all they want, but Ryan had a relatively short career as a Ranger — just four and a half years — and Jon Daniels is widely credited as the most important person in the front office.

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        • El Vigilante says:

          That might be what you are saying (and I don’t disagree with this at all). I was just trying to call attention to the odd two paragraphs where you try and judge his Rangers popularity and playing career. Your sentence that includes other players with superior Rangers careers starts out with wondering if Nolan is in the position of “most popular” not “best” Rangers player. Fans don’t look at WAR to determine who to cheer for. ARod was never beloved by Rangers fans, in part because he is Arod and because his huge contract erroneously took the blame for poor team performances. Mitchell Report has nothing to do with that.

          “[Nolan] may be in that position (of most popular Texas Ranger in team history) now, following the release of the Mitchell Report …”

          Mitchell Report and revisionist history did not put Nolan in the position of most popular Ranger.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Reggie Jackson was FAR more important to the A’s (and won more titles with them) than the Yankees, but how many people think of Reggie as an Oakland A?

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        • Baltar says:

          I don’t see the relevance of this to anything, but I think of Jackson both as an Athletic and a Yankee, about equally.

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        • wobatus says:

          I think of him as an Oriole.

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        • wobatus says:

          Jackson’s 6 best seasons were with the Athletics, per WAR.

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        • CircleChange11 says:

          The relevance was that someone said that Ryan’s best years were on teams other than the Rangers. My point was that for various reasons fans identify a player with another team on occasion even if the player did not have his best years with the team.

          For example, Reggie Jackson is viewed by many/most fans as a “Yankee” and not an Athletic despite his best years in Oakland.

          How you view Reggie Jackson is not as significant as how the majority does for this discussion.

          I’m not really making a strong point as it’s not that important of an issue, just saying that lots of folks do view Ryan as a Ranger, in part because he is from Texas and IS the “face of the Texas Fireballer”, sort of a generalization on the once prominence of hard throwing right-handed pitchers from the state of Texas.

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        • CircleChange11 says:

          Now that I think about it, I wonder what % of regular baseball fans even know/knew that Jackson played for the A’s?

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        • Jay29 says:

          I think of him as an Angel who must kill the Queen.

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        • Jason B says:

          what % of regular baseball fans even know/knew that Jackson played for the A’s?

          Real, actual baseball fans? 99.99927%.

          Sure, a lot of people may think of Reggie as a Yankee first. But to imply that fans don’t know he was an Athletic is overstating your case just a *tad*.

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        • CircleChange11 says:

          If you were to walk around a baseball stadium and ask fans “What team did Reggie Jackson start his career with?”, what % would correctly state “The Oakland A’s”?

          I’m not trying to over-state a point or win an argument because there’s nothing to be gained here. I think almost all baseball die-hards know that RJ played for the A’s and was one of the most dominant players in the game for them. But I don’t think the majority of regular baseball fans (many of whom were not in baseball viewing years in the early 70s).

          ——————————-

          Not that I naturally assume the worst in people, but I wonder what % of our population thinks Benjamin Franklin was a president?

          Popularity and notoriety have a way of creating confusion about things.

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  8. Hurtlockertwo says:

    Nolan Ryan is an icon in baseball in general, let alone Texas. I would be surprised that he didn’t have enough “goodwill equity” to survive a disagreement.

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  9. Cardinology says:

    I live in Dallas after moving from New York about two years ago. Nolan Ryan is pretty ubiquitous down here (Pretty hard to drive down the highway more than 10 miles without seeing a billboard with his face on it. Can’t see it impacting the fan base negatively, though. The Rangers are still a second class team to the cowboys (and UT and Texas A&m football, and most of the high schools), but I was a Yankees fan when Steinbrenner the Elder pushed Joe Torre out despite how beloved he was and no one stopped going to games because of that. People will complain he’s getting a raw deal but I doubt any fans will stop going because Nolan got demoted.

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    • l1ay says:

      Yes, we all know Texas is a football first state. But it’s kind of annoying seeing people constantly call Texas fans “second class”. They had the third highest attendance last season, what’s every other team’s fanbase excuse for not outdrawing a “second class” fanbase?

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      • johng says:

        We have toilets at home, and don’t have to pay $35 for a ticket to pee in private.

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      • I haven’t seen a lot of people constantly call Texas fans “second class.” But I know that Josh Hamilton did.

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        • Baltar says:

          That was generous of Josh. In their treatment of him, they don’t even qualify as third class.

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        • Andy says:

          What he actually said was that DFW wasn’t a “true baseball town”. He might as well have said “Rangers fans suck.”

          Josh was probably the most popular Ranger since Pudge, and easily one of the top 5 most popular in the history of the franchise. As a high-impact player with a great story to tell, he was bigger in 5 years than even Young was in 12 years.

          Yeah, some fans started to boo him at the end. It may or may not have been the right thing to do, but it’s unfortunate that his career as a Ranger ended like that. And maybe that altered his perception, which may be why he said that. I dunno. He doesn’t strike me as the brightest guy.

          I bore him no ill will for signing with LA. I didn’t want him there obviously, as they’re a rival, but I didn’t blame him. The Rangers dragged their feet and focused on Greinke and, to a lesser extent, Upton. So I don’t blame him for that. I blame him for basically spitting on Texas fans in hindsight, though.

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  10. brian says:

    Nolan Ryan has the people skills of Larry Luchhino without the business savvy. He’s a terrible figurehead, even by figurehead standards.

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  11. oddibe says:

    Randy Galloway is a sensationalist with a daily talk radio gig and an axe to grind with J.D., so take his “reporting” and “sources” with a grain of salt.

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    • That’s interesting, but sounds a bit like hairsplitting. Clearly, ownership wanted to promote Daniels, and they were a bit insensitive to the way that would make Nolan Ryan feel. Titles are pretty fungible within baseball organizations. Whatever the title was that they offered him, they clearly seem to have stepped on Nolan Ryan’s toes. And since everyone agrees that Daniels is a more important executive since Nolan Ryan, they didn’t seem to take a great deal of care to prevent that from happening.

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  12. james wilson says:

    They had years to think this over. They did. A message was sent, and received. It’ll take Nolie a few more days to get his mind wrapped around this and let it go. It’s not like he was moved from SS to 3B over the winter.

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    • That Guy says:

      “It’s not like he was moved from SS to 3B over the winter.”

      That’s a good line andI have to say, I’m having a genuine laugh at it. Thanks, sir.

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  13. CircleChange11 says:

    Nolan Ryan has also been the guiding force in Texas for pitchers throwing more often, including SP’s occasionally throwing batting practice, utilizing long toss for arm strength and injury prevention and things of that nature.

    I’m not going to go around saying that Nolan Ryan is the reason that the Rangers turned around, because I’m of the opinion that players are due 90+% of the credit/blame for success.

    But, I can easily imagine that when some coaches, GMs, CEO’s, owners, etc say something the players hear it but quickly brush it aside …. but when Nolan Ryan says something, players are going to listen … and not just because they don’t want “Ventura’d”. Even saying that we still have to be cautioous when assigning credit/blame to owners/execs.

    I will say some of these executive types have some real balls (or lack of brains) to get in a power struggle with Nolan Ryan regarding anything Texas or anything Rangers. I mean, really.

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  14. Larry says:

    People need to realize that Nolan Ryan isn’t playing baseball anymore and hasn’t for some time now. I will never disagree that Nolan Ryan is a baseball great. However, he is NOT playing anymore. It isn’t like he is being traded to another team. The two main majority owners are two of the top 400 richest Americans on Forbes list. You really think they would move forward with promotions without having Nolan on board? And who does everyone think does the work while Nolan is sitting front row enjoying his peanuts at every game? Business does not end just because there is a game. Shame on Texans for threatening to walk away from being fans of the Texas Rangers. The players are the ones you go out and watch, not Nolan Ryan. If you are coming to a game soley to see him, then please leave the tickets for real fans that appreciate the game. The main people that matter in the baseball industry and Rangers’ sponsors know who really does the work and hate to break it everyone it’s not Nolan Ryan. If Nolan is this great guy like everyone is claiming, then why is he letting the focus be taken off spring training and the team? He cares about himself and his ego.

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  15. hp says:

    As far as famous Texans go, Ryan is pretty high up there. Earl Campbell might trump him though. Clemens might have claim as one of the best pitchers ever, much less Texas born pitchers.

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  16. jmart1951 says:

    During your time period I do not believe anyone has had a greater influence on the Rangers success than John Shuerholtz. Rangers baseball fans should demand a statue in Shuerholtz’s honor. He should throw out the first pitch of the first Ranger home game every year. When he goes into the Hall of Fame he should go in as a Ranger (maybe that was included within the small deatils of “The Trade”)
    Honor to whom honor is due

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  17. MrMan says:

    First, I think this article captures the essence of what has happened better than the Fangraphs (or any other) article:

    http://www.bbtia.com/home/2013/3/7/titles.html

    Second, the New Yorker who says “The Rangers are still a second class team to the cowboys (and UT and Texas A&m football, and most of the high schools)” has no idea what he’s talking about. Yes, the Cowboys are bigger than the Rangers. But to think UT football is bigger in Dallas than the Rangers (or the Mavericks) is sheer stupidity. The Longhorns don’t play in Dallas and while there are plenty of UT grads there are also plenty of SMU / TCU / TTech grads, etc. See how many of them can draw crowds for 40 years while playing shitty baseball (no playoff victories in 36 years) for most of that time.

    Third, those who say Nolan Ryan is a figurehead or played no role in the Rangers rise from 2008 forward are clueless. Ryan has done three key things as President / CEO: first, he kept Jon Daniels, Ron Washington and the rest of the Rangers staff when he came in. It was widely expected (and eagerly anticipated by many) that the non-nonsense Ryan would oust the Harvard-educated stat-geeks and bring some real baseball people in. He chose to watch, evaluate and then made the decision these guys knew what they were doing. I’m pretty sure if he’d chosen differently things would have turned out much worse.
    Second, Ryan emphasized a pitching culture that demanded conditioned players and raised expectations. Pitchers should get out of any mess they create; pitch counts were not the sole determining factor pitching decisions; etc.
    Third…and this is hard to measure but no doubt important: Ryan gave the Rangers front-office credibility with fans at a time when the Rangers had none. After years of 90+ loss seasons and Tom Hicks and John Hart fans were (arguably) at an all-time low when Ryan arrived.

    Finally, those saying Ryan is some sort of irreplaceable icon and management has made a horrid mistake “messin’ with the Ryan Express” are the same kind of knee-jerk, “I Love Texas” reactionaries who wanted to run Jon Daniels out of town five years ago. Prior to Ryan arriving in Texas Daniels had already initiated a youth development plan that was well on its way to making the Rangers the perennial contender they’ve become. There’s a reason they were named the #3 team in terms of propects in 2008. The Mark Texeira trade that netted Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz had already been made. Josh Hamilton had already been brought on board. The minors were stacked with prospects at all levels.

    In short, you’re all wrong. Yes, Ryan has been a key part of the Rangers. No, he’s not THE reason they’ve succeeded recently. Yes, Jon Daniels is more important, especially moving forward.

    I’ve written more than I meant to. I’ll stop now.

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  18. Tom David says:

    OH CRAP, Galloway is nothing mor than a talking head. He does’t like Ryan and never has. I for one will cancel my tickets if he leaves. Jon Danials was nothing more than a lap boy for Hicks when he was moved to the Rangers from the Dallas Stars. How many years was Jon in the position to do wonders before Ryan came to the Rangers. What has happened to the Rangers since he became a minor partner. That is your the answer to all of this. Jon Daanial did nothing but rid the team of major prospects and got little in return. Floundered in or near the cellar every year. Fan base fell to critical numbers. No pitching at all. Just a few heavy hitters. Cannot win games with only hitters. So that brings us to Ryan. What has happened to the Rangers since his involvment. Two World Series and one Playoff series. Take your pick. Danials or Ryan? Oh by the way, Randy Galloway, stick it.

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    • MrMan says:

      Um….Galloway’s tongue is so deep up Ryan’s ass he thinks his shit is caviar.
      PRIOR to Nolan Ryan arriving these players had been acquired by Jon Daniels:

      1. Neftali Feliz
      2. Matt Harrison
      3. Derek Holland
      4. Alexi Ogando
      5. CJ Wilson
      6. Elvis Andrus
      7. Ian Kinsler
      8. Nelson Cruz
      9. Josh Hamilton
      10. David Murphy
      11. Michael Young

      That’s 60% of the starting staff, the two best relievers and 6 of the most active field players on the 2010 / 2011 World Series teams. In addition Daniels had already acquired the assets that were used to bring in:

      1. Cliff Lee
      2. Mike Adams
      3. Mike Napoli
      4. Koji Uehara

      And let’s not forget Ryan was AGAINST signing Yu Darvish but overruled Daniels and signed Roy Oswalt against JD’s wishes.

      You’re the typical idiot Texan loudmouth who thinks because Ryan arrived in 2008 and the team started winning in 2009 it was because of him. But the hard work had already been done by JD when Ryan arrived. Daniels had absolutely stocked the minor leagues and brough in cheap, low-risk / high-reward talent like Josh Hamilton.

      Ryan deserves kudos for the role he played…but it wasn’t nearly as important as JD’s actions in stocking the system with talen.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        1. The first line of your post is classic and entertaining. I’m going to steal the “thinks his s*** is caviar” line and act as if I invented it.

        2. The rest of the post is exactly how one should discuss in a debate. The list of players acquired is impressive.

        I also appreciate how you gave credit to Ryan for the role he has played. The situation is not a false dichotomy where it’s either “all Daniels” or “all Ryan”. They have both contributed to the success of the team, which I’m pretty sure is an expectation of their job descriptions.

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  19. Zigs says:

    I took off the last 8 years of Ryan’s and Clemens’ career and Ryan only gained 10 war on Clemens, but when you take the last 11 years offeach of their careers, Ryan gains 31 war. I think the peds definitely taint any argument between the two because Clemens looked washed up, but he was then suddenly able to pitch at top form for over a decade.

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    • I really don’t find analysis of arbitrary endpoints convincing.

      But the thing is, Clemens didn’t really look washed up — except to Dan Duquette. He was inconsistent in the early ’90s, but frequently dominant. He won the Cy Young in 1991, he was arguably even better in 1992, he was mediocre in 1993, he was superb in 1994, he was only pretty good in 1995, and he was very good in 1996. The chief problem is that the run environment was changing dramatically compared to the 1980s, as runs were increasing by leaps and bounds, so his ERA looked a lot worse than it was. In his last four years in Boston, Clemens was 40-39 with a 3.77 ERA, but that was actually good for a 130 ERA+, which is terrific.

      The Red Sox couldn’t have known that he would pitch for over a decade after they let him go. But he was far from washed up when he left.

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      • Zigs says:

        The problem I have is saying that peds or not Clemens was miles better than Ryan. If peds helped Clemens to get those years of ridiculous awesomeness, it evens out and possibly tips the hat In Ryan’s favor. Both pitchers were considered power strikeout pitchers, yet Nolan had six 300 strikeout seasons to Clemens zero seasons of 300. The truth is we will never know who did or did not use; it is even possible that Rryan used during his time in Texas, because it is just not natural for power pitchers to improve as they approach 40.

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        • CircleChange11 says:

          The problem with using K total numbers is that Ryan pitched in an era where SP’s pitched many more innings.

          Comparing K/9 numbers against league average might be a better way of doing it.

          We’re also ignoring Ryan’s BB numbers, which often were equally as impressive (i.e., high) as his K numbers were (comparative to average).

          The number of pitches Ryan must have thrown in some of those seasons is just staggering, and staggering might be a vast understatement.

          In their best comparative seasons, Clemens reached equal or greater WAR totals in 70-90 fewer IP.

          What Ryan was able to do in the late 80’s and early 90’s as an aged pitcher is just amazing.

          When we look at Blue Jay years when many think that Clemens used PEDs, he simply stopped giving up home runs (comparatively), which probably has more to do with SkyDome v. Fenway than anything else (97 his BB/9 numbers reached career peak levels). When Clemens pitched for the NYY his HR rate returned to career norms.

          What’s interesting is that Clemens’s “MVP Season” was like his 7th best season (by fWAR standards).

          I don’t know what % to deduct from Clemens for PED’s.

          it is even possible that Rryan used during his time in Texas,

          Also interesting that Tom House admitted to trying steroids, but concluded they did not help him any, which seems like a very ridiculous statement for such an educated person to make.

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  20. Jhon says:

    I’m a carpetbagger in texas and have been for 24 years… Only in Texas does it seem to matter when discussing Ryan’s merits to the organization, that he is the most “famous” texan.. When discussing the Yankees, do you ever hear that someone is the most famous New Yorker… or that someone is the most famous Pennsylvanian….

    It’s just so damn meaningless… I guess what goes around comes around… Greenberg got run out of the organization because he meddled in areas that he wasn’t supposed to be in… sounds like the same is happening with ryan…

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