While Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg are the public faces of the team approved yesterday as the new owners of the Texas Rangers, the lead investors behind the sale are Dallas billionaire Ray Davis and Baylor’s own Bob Simpson, BBA ’70, MS ’71 (pictured).
Simpson — whose gift to Baylor led the way for the creation of the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center — is the co-founder and former CEO of XTO Energy, a Fort Worth-based natural gas company purchased earlier this year by ExxonMobil in a $36 billion deal. Repeatedly praised for his leadership of the company during his 22 years with XTO, Simpson was most recently named one of Barron’s Magazine’s top 30 CEOs in the world in 2008.
The sale means that both of Texas’ Major League Baseball teams are now owned by Baylor Bears. Baylor graduate and Regent Emeritus Drayton McLane, BBA ’58, purchased the Houston Astros in 1993 and has led the franchise through the most successful period in franchise history. During McLane’s tenure as chairman and CEO of the Astros, the team ranks third in the National League (sixth in the majors) in winning percentage and has made six postseason appearances (compared to just three in the franchise’s first 31 years).
Sic ’em, Bears in baseball!