The Curse of Nolan Ryan
Who could forget the glorious days of the Texas Rangers? This franchise has had only two appearances in the World Series, which occurred in back-to-back seasons (2010-2011). The 2010 World Series, the Rangers didn’t show up. The 2011 World Series, they once again didn’t show up either.
Something happened after this historic run of choking in the World Series for the Texas Rangers. A change happened that was so drastic, it forever ruined any success the Rangers could have hoped for. The winds have pushed them in a direction that is heading for nothing but rocky waters for years to come. This catastrophic, franchise-altering move was done by one decision, firing a legendary man. That man is:
This man was truly behind all of the success that the Rangers were starting to experience and it was a historic run. The Rangers were a team built to last with an executive that truly understood what it took to field an elite baseball team year after year after year.
Nolan Ryan was appointed the CEO of the Rangers in 2008. This move allowed for someone with baseball knowledge to stop the bleeding of the pathetic 2000’s decade for the Rangers. This terrible stretch of losing was proceeded by a dominate run from 1996-200. The Rangers won 3 out of 4 AL East divisional championship from 1996-2000. This stretch should have been the start to a franchise that would expect nothing, but success. This expectation was not realized and it was shortly dismissed as a big ‘ole nothing burger. The Rangers needed a rejuvination, and the answer was clearly Ryan’s expertise.
Once they brought Ryan on as the CEO in 2008, that was when the losing culture was slowly but surely changed. It was a slow process, but a process that allowed for Ryan to build a winning culture from the Rookie level ball teams all the way up to the Major Leagues.
The Rangers had no reason to not compete for pennant after pennant after the 2011 season, but a slow, methodical, and pathetic power grab by Jon Daniels forced out the most beloved man in Texas Rangers history. Nolan Ryan would “resign” and “sell” his ownership stake in the franchise at a completely random time, without any real reason as to why.
The writing was on the wall for Ryan’s departure when the Rangers started to slowly strip away power from him. This violent push out the door was initiated by the Rangers’ brass by naming Daniels as the President of Baseball Operations in 2013, when this was the position Nolan Ryan had held before. This changing of the power dynamics was surely a “secret firing” of Nolan Ryan because the Rangers’ top brass was ready to move in a direction towards using analytics and “moneyball” as their way to the future, instead of the old school approach to baseball.
Do not be mistaken, Nolan Ryan was chased out of town because he was resistant towards starting new things. Ryan’s old school mindset is what dug his grave in Texas, but in actuality it might have been the greatest liberation in modern baseball history. The Rangers’ blend of moneyball and old school franchise building might have been the secret to success that allowed the Rangers to dominate the early part of the 2010 decade.
Nolan Ryan is a baseball mastermind that knows how to build a championship roster, and that is a fact. Ryan promptly left to go help the Astros on their journey and they are now World Series Champions and the Rangers are left wondering if it is time for a complete rebuild.
Nolan Ryan was one of the greatest pitchers of all time and he just might be one of the greatest front office man of all time.