Some of Nolan Ryan’s best moments occurred in a Texas Rangers uniform: turning the struggling franchise around after he was brought in as a free agent in 1988, his 5,000th strikeout and his 300th victory. Another biggie happened early Thursday to Ryan — 17 years after retiring and two years after he became team president.

The Hall of Fame pitcher’s best moment yet may have been in a federal courthouse in Fort Worth — where he won the team in a contentious and unusual auction spanning 10 hours. Ryan and sports attorney Chuck Greenberg won the team with a
$593 million bid, including $385 million in cash, surviving the fierce bidding war with a group led by billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Houston businessman Jim Crane.

The bidding included tense exchanges and even yelling between the attorneys before Crane, during a break after midnight, shook Ryan’s hand in the corridor and said his group was dropping out.

The auction had been the talk of the team in Seattle, where the Rangers last night beat the Mariners 11-6. The players learned of the auction’s outcome about 15 minutes after the game, and a clubhouse shout of “We have an owner!” drowned out another yell of “Aw, sweet!” from across the room.
    (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)