Houston Astros Owner Drayton McLane Offers MLB Team for Sale

Houston Astros’ owner Drayton McLane is selling the Major League Baseball team after 18 years.

“We have no buyer in mind, but this is something we’re going to explore,” McLane said yesterday during a news conference at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

McLane, 74, watched the Astros earn the fourth-best record in the National League and make the postseason playoffs six times since he became owner in 1993. The Major League Baseball team had made three playoff appearances in its first 31 seasons.

“We’re proud of the success we had on the field, but are equally as proud of the success we had off of it,” he said with his wife and two sons nearby. “One of our goals was to have a positive impact in the community, and I think we did that. Now, we look forward to passing the torch to start a new era of Astros baseball.”

McLane hired Stephen Greenberg of the New York investment bank Allen & Company LLC to negotiate with potential buyers. Greenberg has represented the owners of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves in the sales of those baseball teams and the Wilpon family in the acquisition of the New York Mets.

McLane didn’t disclose an asking price for the Astros, which finished last season with a 76-86 record. The team, which cost him $117 million in 1993, is valued at $800 million, KRIV-TV in Houston said, citing an MLB spokesman it didn’t name.

Market Price

“We will let the market price the team, although we will certainly steer prospective buyers to a range that we feel is reasonable,” Greenberg said in an e-mail.

McLane said no timetable has been set for a sale, adding it could take “three months or three or four years.”

“Before we select a buyer, it will be an organization or individual with very, very high standards, integrity, honesty, and they want to do the very same things -- be a champion, and to really get involved,” McLane said.

The buyers don’t have to be Texans, he said, “but they have to be engaged, be involved. That’s the fun of being an owner -- being engaged, being involved.”

McLane said his life has revolved around the Astros’ 2,916 regular-season games in the past 18 years.

“That’s a lot of emotion, getting upset with umpires or somebody else,” he said.