Nolan Ryan replaces Chuck Greenberg

Updated: March 12, 2011, 1:42 PM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Texas Rangers announced Friday that team president Nolan Ryan is adding the title of CEO, replacing Chuck Greenberg, who is leaving the organization.

Ryan will oversee all baseball and business operations for the organization, reporting directly to the board of directors.

In a Rangers news release, Greenberg, who was managing general partner and CEO, said he, Ryan and co-chairmen of the board Ray Davis and Bob Simpson have "somewhat different styles" and he said he was disappointed that they "did not work through our differences."

Sources said Greenberg's departure was the result of a variety of factors that built up during the offseason.

One included Greenberg's selling a suite at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington that general manager Jon Daniels used for meetings and to entertain family members and various opposing front-office people. Ryan and Daniels didn't want the suite sold.

Greenberg also got more involved in the Michael Young trade talks than the baseball operations staff wanted, sources confirmed.

"I really think that we shouldn't bring up any differences that we had, so I'm really not going to go into that," Ryan said during a Friday afternoon news conference with Davis and Simpson at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. "I don't really think there was an event that created the separation that we had. I think it's just a combination of philosophy. Like a marriage, you think things are going to work, but we all know in business that until you get in there on a day-to-day basis, you don't get a feel for how it's going to work."

Ryan said he did not envision his role changing significantly after serving as the team president the previous three seasons. Several Rangers officials, including Ryan and Daniels, said Greenberg's exit would not affect baseball operations.

"Nothing changes as far as how we operate, organizational structure, budget," Daniels said. "All of that remains the same. We're looking to keep our baseball management leadership group in place for an extended period of time. None of that changes."

Daniels, who agreed to a four-year contract extension through 2015 last week, said his relationship with Ryan is strong and he is confident the Rangers' baseball operations side is stable.

Davis and Simpson, the largest investors in the Rangers Baseball Express ownership group, thanked Greenberg for his time with the club in a statement and again during the news conference.

"Chuck's departure will have no effect on the team's operation and we look forward to working with Nolan Ryan as this organization continues to grow and prosper," the two said in a statement.

The departure ends a seven-month stay for Greenberg with the club, though he worked for more than a year prior in his eventually successful attempt to buy the club.

"While I am disappointed we did not work through our differences, I remain wholeheartedly committed to doing what's right for the franchise," Greenberg said in the Rangers' news release. "Together we concluded it is best for all concerned for me to sell my interest back to Rangers Baseball Express and move on. I do so with a heavy heart, but with every confidence in the direction that the new management team is taking the Rangers and, with Nolan at the helm, I know this franchise will continue to thrive and reach even greater heights both on and off the field."

Simpson said that Rangers Baseball Express had already bought out Greenberg's share of the team. He said Greenberg declined an offer to stay with the Rangers in a different role.

"He chose to move on," Simpson said. "He likes to do deals."

Greenberg's group won an auction over a group that included Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in bankruptcy court last August. Greenberg's group was unanimously approved by Major League Baseball shortly thereafter.

Greenberg, who had a small stake in the team, had been a visible owner since then, appearing at numerous events on behalf of the team and sharing in the celebration of the club's 2010 American League championship.

"We liked having Chuck out there," Davis said. "We liked what he brought to the fan base, stimulating the fan base and the interviews he gave. Nolan will pick up some of that now, as will some of the other people on his staff. This wasn't about one person being too visible."

Greenberg, a Pittsburgh sports attorney, teamed up with Ryan early in the process and then went about forming a group of investors, mostly local ones, to purchase the team from lenders after Hicks Sports Group defaulted on loans. The team filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late May.

Through numerous hearings in bankruptcy court in Fort Worth, the team was eventually put up for auction on Aug. 4. The auction didn't end until shortly before 1 a.m. on Aug. 5, when the Greenberg group won with a final offer of $593 million, which included $385 million in cash.

The auction ended a process that really got going in December 2009, when Greenberg's group was chosen to enter into exclusive negotiating rights with Hicks Sports Group, led by owner Tom Hicks. A deal was struck in late January, but HSG's lenders didn't approve the sale. That started the dominoes on putting the team in bankruptcy and eventually the auction.

While the ownership drama was unwinding in the courtrooms, the Rangers were on the way to their most successful season ever, winding up in their first World Series.

Players vowed the latest change won't affect the team.

"Chuck was a great guy the time I talked to him," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "Other than that, there's really nothing to say, I guess. It seemed like he had good ideas. I don't know exactly what happened. It doesn't affect the club in the locker room or on the field. So we're not going to worry about it. I hope Chuck has success wherever he goes."

Outfielder David Murphy said he wasn't aware of anything until he was asked about it by the media Friday morning.

"Things like this aren't going to affect us on the field," Murphy said. "I don't know details, but the time that Chuck was here, he was an awesome guy. He seemed like he was going to steer the franchise in the right direction. We'll miss him, but in this profession, whether it's the front office or ownership or players, it's a constant revolving door. We're used to people coming and going."

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com contributed to this report from Arlington, Texas.

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