May 23- Nolan Ryan group purchases the Texas Rangers franchise in a tense court auction in 2010
Updated: Jun 6, 2020
2010- On this day in sports history, the Texas Rangers are purchased for $593 Million. The team was bought by a group that was led by Nolan Ryan, a Texas Rangers Hall of Famer, and Chuck Greenberg, a Pittsburgh sports attorney. Nolan Ryan was the Texas Rangers President before the team went to auction. The purchase became one of the most heated and contentious purchases of an American sports franchise that there has ever been. The previous owner, Tom Hicks, was not conservative with his spending and did not use the money wisely. One instance was signing Alex Rodriguez for a 10 year $252 million deal. The Rangers ended up only being able to afford the deal for three seasons before trading him to the New York Yankees. However the Rangers still had to agree to pay $67 million of the $179 million that was left on the contract to trade him. Hicks overspending ended up being too much and the Texas Rangers filed for bankruptcy on May 24, 2010. Meanwhile, the Rangers baseball team was in the middle of their season where they were winning the AL West division.
The Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg group was thought to be the only potential buyer for the bankrupt team. The group offered to buy the team for $520 million and the MLB and Commissioner Selig were supportive of the deal. However, when the Rangers had to file for bankruptcy, the team went to a court auction and another group of buyers came forward. The new group was led by Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and Jim Crane, a Houston business owner. Cuban and Crane offered more money than Ryan and Greenberg did.
The groups went back and forth in the courthouse as attorneys argued over the details in each group's bid. Many arguments became heated and it leaked that Commissioner Selig preferred Ryan’s group over the other and was working behind the scenes to help them win the auction. The courtroom became crowded with reporters and Rangers fans wanting to watch.
The auction lasted well into the night as it was shortly before 1 in the morning when the purchase became official by the Ryan and Greenberg group for $593 million. The Rangers organization was happy that Nolan Ryan was the one that won. The MLB was happy that Cuban and his ego would not enter the league. It ultimately worked out for Jim Crane as he purchased the Houston Astros organization in 2011. The Rangers baseball team finished the 2010 season 90-72 for first place in the AL West. They made the World Series before losing to the San Francisco Giants.
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Also read yesterday’s blog post! On May 22, 1994, the new expansion NBA team in Toronto unveiled the Raptors as their mascot and logo. Read about it here- https://www.sportsaday.com/post/may-22-the-new-toronto-expansion-team-unveils-their-raptors-name-and-logo-in-1994
“Nolan Ryan Group Wins Rangers Auction.” ESPN, ESPN , 4 Aug. 2010,
Star, Jon. “Nolan Ryan Group Outbids Mark Cuban in Texas Rangers Auction.” Bleacher Report, Bleacher Report, 13 Sept. 2017,