Drayton McLane: Where He Ranks Among Astro Owners

Categories: Baseball

You won't have Uncle Drayton to kick around anymore.
Today's the day: The official announcement that Drayton McLane has found a buyer for the Houston Astros.

McLane has been owner of the Astros for 18 years. In that time they've moved to a downtown ballpark (thanks, taxpayers!!), gone to a World Series (not that you'd notice) and have had semi-successful years ending in playoff frustration coupled with disastrous years of boring ineptitude (hello, 2010-11).

How does McLane rank among Astro owners? Surprisingly well. Then again, consider the competition:

3. GE Credit and Ford Motor Company Credit
From 1975 to 1979, the Astros were actually owned by two credit companies, giant corporations who had exactly no interest in building a winning baseball team. The team flirted with 100 losses, but what were fans supposed to do? Hang GE Credit in effigy?

Being awful while not providing a good target for abuse: a no-win situation.

2. John McMullen
John McMullen purchased the team from its creditors in 1979 and owned it for the next 14 years. He was generally known for two things, neither of which endeared him to Houstonians: a) being from New Jersey, and b) letting Nolan Ryan get away.

The Astros did have some very good seasons under McMullen's ownership, including coming oh-so-close to the World Series in 1986 before getting their hearts broken by the New York Mets, but overall he was not a beloved figure among the fan base.

1. Roy Hofheinz
The man who gave us the Astrodome, Astroworld, an outsize reputation for garish tastelessness and no playoff appearances in 13 seasons. (The team had a winning record in only two of those years.)

Also known for: Not postponing games after Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, and trading the two players (Rusty Staub and Bob Aspromonte) who sat out in protest.

So you can see, it's possible to make the argument that Drayton McLane is the best owner the Astros have ever had. Unless you like credit companies.

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John Royal
John Royal

John McMullen left a roster with Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley, Ken Caminiti, Pete Harnisch and Daryl Kile.  The farm system was stocked and known as one of the best in baseball and the Venezelua Academy was up and operating.  It was the heart of this system, built by McMullen and his GM, Bill Wood, that drove the Astros for years.

And John McMullen purchased a team from GE Credit and Ford Motor Company Credit that had one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, a nice nucleus of players who were ideal for playing in the Dome, and a stocked minor league system.

And Roy Hofheinz, for his faults, had a vision and was the one who brought baseball to the city.

Drayton McLane on the other hand leaves a roster devoid of talent but with one HUGE contract of an untradeable player, a minor league system ranked as one of the worst in baseball, and a management team that is generally considered to be a joke by most of baseball.  But he did blackmail the city into building him a new taxpayer-funded pleasure palace.

So, no, Drayton can't be considered the best owner in team history, unless you mean for destroying and tearing down what others before him had built up.


Drayton's the best?  I guess you're saying he's the tallest midget.

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