From the beginning, the Round Rock Express was Reid Ryan’s vision and ultimately his pride and joy. On Friday, Ryan moved on and his role with the minor-league baseball team was entrusted to his brother.
With Reid Ryan being introduced as president of the Houston Astros, his role as chief executive officer of the Express goes to Reese Ryan, the club announced. Reese, 37, also will continue as the team’s chief financial officer, thus assuring the family of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan will continue to guide the fortunes of the thriving Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
“For the last 12 years, Reid and I have kind of worked hand in hand,” Reese said after returning from his older brother’s introductory news conference in Houston. “There’s not a lot of things I want to change. The goal is to maintain the high standard of excellence that Reid set and continue to grow his vision.”
Express officials expect the transition to be a smooth one.
“Reid’s presence is going to be missed, without question. It caught us all a little bit off guard when we first heard about this earlier in the week,” said Dave Fendrick, the team president. “But I think Reese will step right in and there won’t be a blip on the screen in terms of how things are operated. I don’t see a lot of change.”
Reid Ryan, 41, is officially listed by the Express as the franchise’s founder. Envisioning a minor-league franchise in Central Texas in the late 1990s when he was in his late 20s, he approached his father with the idea, which eventually led to an initial meeting in 1997 with then-Round Rock mayor Charlie Culpepper.
“Reid and I worked extensively together,” said Culpepper, who served as mayor from 1993-99. “He was young and full of ambition. He was kind of green, but we got it done.”
The Express debuted in 2000 as a Double-A franchise of the Astros. In 2005, they became the Astros’ Triple-A team in the Pacific Coast League. They became affiliated with the Rangers in 2011, agreeing to a contract that runs through the 2018 season.
Reid’s move to the Astros won’t affect the player-development relationship with the Rangers, the Express said.
“He (Reid) has spread his wings and grown,” Culpepper said. “I could always see him moving up in the baseball world, although I didn’t know it would be with the Astros. We’re going to miss him because he’s such a good person.”
The Express announced that Reid will maintain his ownership interest in the Express, and will continue his involvement on the Ryan-Sanders Baseball board of directors. He will no longer have day-to-day responsibilities with the Express, however.
It also was announced Friday that the Ryan-Sanders group plans to sell its Double-A franchise in Corpus Christi, the Hooks, to the Astros. The sale must be approved by Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball, as well as Ryan-Sanders shareholders. The Associated Press reported the Astros plan to assume control of the Hooks’ operations at the end of the 2013 season.
Express general manager George King said Reese and Reid Ryan have their own unique personalities but share common traits. The latter include an easy-going managerial style.
“Their last name obviously carries a lot of clout in baseball, but it’s never heavy-handed with them,” King said. “It easily could be, but they never have to exercise that muscle.”