Nolan Ryan to rejoin Astros as adviser

Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2004

KISSIMMEE, Fla. The Astros keep adding famous pitchers.

After signing hometown stars Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens during the offseason, Houston has agreed to a five-year personal services contract with Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, a baseball official told The Associated Press on Monday.

Ryan's deal is to be announced at a news conference Tuesday, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Ryan began negotiating with the Astros after his personal services deal with the Texas Rangers expired earlier this month. His duties under the new deal with owner Drayton McLane Jr. are expected to include a baseball advisory role.

Ryan first joined the Astros after the 1979 season when then-owner John McMullen lured him away from the California Angels with the first seven-digit average salary in baseball history. The Astros won their first division title in 1980.

He helped lead the Astros to a second NL West title in 1986. Along the way he threw one of his seven no-hitters, broke Walter Johnson's career strikeouts record and became the first player to fan 4,000.

He departed unhappily after the 1988 season when McMullen declined to make a serious bid to keep him. He signed with the Rangers at 41 and went on to pitch two more no-hitters and boost his strikeout total to 5,714 before retiring in 1993 at 46.

The Astros were going to be closely tied to Ryan regardless of whether he rejoined them. Not only does he own the club's Double-A team, which is moving to Corpus Christi next year, but the Astros also are expected to affiliate with the Triple-A team he's moving to Round Rock from Edmonton, Alberta.

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