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Ryan stepping down as Rangers chief exec

Nolan Ryan speaks at a press conference on October 9, 2011 in Arlington, Texas
Nolan Ryan speaks at a press conference on October 9, 2011 in Arlington, Texas

Former Major League Baseball pitching great Nolan Ryan will step down as chief executive of the Texas Rangers on October 31.

The Hall of Famer said Thursday he had sold his ownership stake in the club to Bob Simpson and Ray Davis, who are co-chairmen of the Rangers' board of directors.

"This is the right time for me to step down from my role of overseeing the Rangers organization," said Ryan, whose seven no-hitters as a player are the most for any Major Leaguer.

"I am extremely proud of what this organization has accomplished. On the field, we have enjoyed great success at the major league level. The fans have supported us in record numbers the last two years and we have been able to upgrade the ballpark and enhance the in-game experience to reward that loyalty."

Ryan was appointed as the Rangers' chief executive in March 2011. He had served as the team's president since February 2008 and helped oversee the most successful period in the club's 42-year history.

Over Ryan's six seasons as an executive, Texas has posted the fifth-best overall winning percentage in the majors at .551.

The Rangers, founded in 1972, had never appeared in a World Series prior to making back-to-back trips in 2010 and 2011 and have recorded at least 90 wins in each of the last four seasons.

"Under Nolan's leadership and guidance over the last six years, the Rangers organization has made enormous strides both on and off the field," Davis and Simpson said in a joint statement. "Nolan has meant so much to this franchise and to our fans."

Ryan, who spent the last five seasons of his 27-year playing career with the Rangers, had been among the leaders of a group that purchased the team out of bankruptcy from former owner Tom Hicks in 2010.