Ryan Express still amazes

BOB ELLIOTT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- The Hall of Famer, Nolan Ryan, sits across the table looking like he still could buzz a hitter with an 0-2 pitch.

"We came close to getting Roy Halladay before the July 31 deadline, but he chose not to come," said Ryan, declared an official Texas hero by the state legislature in 1989 and now president of the Texas Rangers.

"We got close to agreeing on players and needed to confirm if he'd approve a trade here," Ryan said. "But he didn't want to come."

Ryan has admired Halladay, watching from the mound and has heard "nothing but good things," about him.

"It's always disappointing when you have a chance to add a pitcher and it doesn't work out," Ryan said. "I know how disruptive it is for a player to move his family during the season.

"I don't know if he viewed us as a contender with a legitimate shot at the post-season."

The Rangers entered play last night 41/2 games behind the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and 31/3 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the wild-card race.

Halladay was reluctant to discuss trade talks, which swirled around him the final 26 days of July.

"I think I'll pass on that," Halladay said. "The thing is, everyone thinks I want out of Toronto. That is not the case."

Halladay will earn $15.75 million US next season, the final year of a his contract.

If the Jays don't re-sign him to a new deal, they no doubt will try to trade him again this winter or prior to the July 31 deadline next season.

Addressing the 2010 rotation the other day, manager Cito Gaston said: "We start with Halladay ... if we don't move him."

Ryan puts in 15-16 hour days at the Rangers Ballpark when the team is at home.

"I was at a point in my career where I wanted to get involved in the game again," said Ryan, who owns triple-A Corpus Christi and double-A Round Rock in the Houston Astros system. Sons Reid and Reese run the successful teams.

"It would only be either the Astros or the Rangers," Ryan said of where he would work. "When (owner) Tom Hicks asked about my interest level in January of 2008, if I wanted to be involved in baseball operations, he also wanted me to look at the business side as well."

Ryan said he wanted to be in on the Rangers' drafts, the development side and the major-league club.

"If there are people who think Nolan Ryan is president in title only, they would be sadly mistaken, Nolan Ryan is the president," former general manager Tom Grieve said.

Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley does Red Sox telecasts.

Hall of Famer Paul Molitor works with Minnesota Twins minor-leaguers.

Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson has a largely ceremonial post with the New York Yankees. Goose Gossage and Whitey Ford attend spring training with the pin stripers.

We can't think of any elite player who has ever held down a position as president like Ryan has.

Hall of Fame second baseman Eddie Collins was GM of the Red Sox from 1933 to 1947. He was succeeded as GM by Hall of Fame shortstop Eddie Collins until 1959.

Which proves, like he was when he was on the mound, that Nolan Ryan was one of a kind.

BOB.ELLIOTT@SUNMEDIA.CA


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