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Astro’s McLane brings message to Chamber

By Gilbert Hoffman, Publisher
Drayton McLane, Jr., owner and CEO of the Houston Astros, was the featured speaker at the monthly luncheon of the North Houston Greenspoint Chamber last week. He highlighted the exciting season that the Astros have now completed, but his message was about baseball, business and ethics that can be applied to both.
McLane spoke of the strength of the Free Enterprise system, and how you can excel and do big things in this country, in this business climate. His own climb to success is an example, but he emphasized that it was integrity and honesty, the desire to do the right things, that lead his direction in his business career.



He spoke to the chamber members at the luncheon about leadership. “A leader who is one that is trying to find the future,” he said. A leader lifts others to a place they wouldn’t get to otherwise. “A leader must also be a risk taker,” he said.
McLane recounted how he came from a small town, Cameron, in Texas. Even today, he prefers living in a smaller community, Temple. He started in the family’s grocery distribution business. He believes it grew because he had a clear mission statement, which he talks about every day in his grocery business and his baseball business. His principles are: Honesty, Integrity, and be responsible for what you do.
McLane became involved with the Houston Astros, as an investor owner, in 1993. Originally asked to be a partner by Texas Commerce Bank’s Ben Love and Randall’s Bob Olmstead, he decided to take on the team on his own, and to run it with his value system.
He has been involved in baseball now for 14 years, and says he loves it. He attends almost all home games. He noted that this year, while disappointing in some ways after reaching the World Series last year, nevertheless has drawn a huge fan support base, with over 3,000,000 attendance reached.
McLane talked about the Astros organization, and the season. He brought with him marketing director John Sorentino, who has been with the team 21 years. The team now has 6 teams in their farm system, he said, and thinks the future of the team depends on developing good talent from within. That includes the 172 players now in the minors. He noted that most players last in the minors about 5 years, and if they get to the majors, only 18 percent are able to stay for more than 1 year.
In closing, he emphasized the need for integrity. As his first manager, Art Howe said, “Baseball is an individual sport, that teams play.” The best players, such as Roger Clemens, take reponsibility for their individual performance, and put their greatest effort into it.