Nolan Ryan's incredible business success in baseball & beyond

One of the most notable storylines surrounding the Texas Rangers first-ever American League Championship has been the omnipresence of Hall of Fame pitcher and new team owner Nolan Ryan. Ryan and co-owner Chuck Greenberg were awarded full control of the Rangers in August, after a protracted battle with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Houston businessman Jim Crane. The $608 million transaction was widely celebrated by North Texas baseball fans, after the team had fallen into financial hardship under the stewardship of former proprietor Tom Hicks. Ryan continues to serve as the ballclub's president, with Greenberg holding the title of CEO.    

Since becoming Rangers president in February of 2008, Ryan, general manager Jon Daniels and field manager Ron Washington have worked hard to change the culture and mentality of a franchise previously known for power hitting, poor pitching and a lack of regular and postseason success.   

Led by Ryan, the Rangers brain trust has worked to develop a team built around pitching, defense and aggressive play on the base paths. Ryan is dedicated to building a durable pitching staff, capable of pitching deep into games on a consistent basis.

In the three seasons since Ryan moved into the president's corner office, the Rangers have improved from 79 wins in '08, to 87 wins in '09, all the way to 90 victories this season. Besides this undeniable change in the team's mindset, one cannot deny the impact Ryan provides the Rangers while sitting in the first row during many of the club's games. Whether it's wearing a Rangers golf shirt at home games in Arlington or sporting a suit and trench coat during the ALCS games at Yankee Stadium, the presence of the immortal right-hander absolutely adds a level of toughness and accountability to the players on the field and in the dugout.  It's no coincidence that the Rangers played unafraid against the big bad Yankees, while teams like the Minnesota Twins seem to cower at the very sight of the vaunted pinstripes.

Beyond this season, the Rangers future remains incredibly bright.  Ryan and the Rangers recently agreed to a 20-year/$3 billion contract with FOX Sports Southwest. This massive broadcasting package will allow the Rangers the opportunity to maintain a high percentage of their talented roster. The first order of business will involve the team's effort to re-sign arguably baseball's best pitcher, midseason acquisition Cliff Lee.

Away from the diamond, Ryan, the all-time leader in strikeouts and no hitters, has parlayed his success on the mound to an equally prosperous career in the business world.  His most notable business venture involves the ownership of Nolan Ryan's All-Natural Beef in Huntsville, Texas. This thriving beef production and distribution company sells 5 million lbs. of meat in 43 states each year.

The lifelong cattleman spends much of his time away from baseball at his private Gonzales River Ranch in Gonzales, Texas. Check out the below video chronicling Ryan's life at his beloved 7,000 acre property, courtesy of "America's Heartland."  The ranch doubles as a family home and working cattle farm.

Ryan has co-written five books, owned and operated a bank and two minor league baseball teams. His sons Reid and Reese now oversee operations for both the Triple-A Round Rock Express and the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks. The Ryan boys also lay claim to the Central Texas franchise of the Los Angeles based The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.  The Ryan's own stores in the Austin, Texas area.

Nolan Ryan has also served on the Texas Park & Wildlife Commission and on The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. When including his pitchman work for numerous companies, most notably Advil and Lowe's, it's abundantly clear that Ryan has prospered in nearly every aspect of his multifaceted life.

Is it any wonder that the Rangers have grown so successful under his leadership?