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Wednesday, November 1
A series of beneficial moves

The sequence of events related to the purchase and sale of the Texas Rangers by George W. Bush and his partners:


October: While helping manage his father's presidential bid, George W. Bush learns that Bush family friend and Fort Worth oil man Eddie Chiles is putting the Texas Rangers up for sale. (His father is elected president in November.)


January: Bush is first mentioned in news reports as a potential candidate to run for governor of Texas in 1990, despite never having held public office. Republican leaders express concern about his lack of credentials and experience.

April: Bush helps arrange a syndicate to purchase controlling interest in the Texas Rangers for $89 million. He borrows $500,000 to buy a small stake in the team and convinces the investor group to make him managing general partner. Bush becomes the public face of the team, while co-general partner Rusty Rose assumes control over the financial side. He receives a reported salary of $200,000 and begins lobbying for a new stadium for the club, which plays in a renovated minor-league facility, Arlington Stadium.

September: The Rangers fail to make the playoffs. But with new free agent pitcher Nolan Ryan, they post their first winning record in three years (83-79) and surpass 2 million in attendance for the first time in franchise history.


April: Bush buys an additional $100,000 ownership stake in the Rangers.

October: Arlington Mayor Richard Greene crafts a deal that will go before voters and devote $135 million toward a new stadium for the Rangers by raising the sales tax by a half-cent. At the time, Greene is among a group of former executives being sued by federal regulators for his role in the widespread savings-and-loan scandal.


January: Arlington citizens, by a 2-to-1 margin, approve public funds for the new $191 million ballpark. Two weeks before the vote, federal regulators dismiss their lawsuit against Greene after he pays a $40,000 penalty.

April: The Rangers shepherd through the Texas legislature a bill that creates the Arlington Sports Facilities Development Authority (ASFDA), a quasi-governmental entity that is given the power of eminent domain. Shortly after the bill is signed by new governor Ann Richards, 13 acres of private property are seized for the Rangers' new ballpark, later prompting two lawsuits.

Juan Gonzalez and Ivan Rodriguez break in with the Rangers, giving the team two popular stars in Latino communities of North Texas. Both would later become American League MVP award winners.

July: Bush buys another $6,302 ownership interest in the Rangers, increasing his financial investment to $606,302.


January: President George H.W. Bush leaves the White House, defeated by Bill Clinton.

September: George W. Bush announces his intention to run for governor of Texas in 1994, making the decision after expressing some interest in the baseball commissioner's job that has been vacated by Fay Vincent.

October: Nolan Ryan, baseball's all-time strikeout leader, retires after 27 years. Ryan, who had become a Bush friend, later campaigns for him for governor.


April: The Ballpark in Arlington, with its retro touches reminiscent of Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards, opens to much fanfare. A league-leading average of 40,374 fans attend games in the coming months, best in franchise history.

August: The end of the season is canceled due to a labor dispute between owners and players, with the Rangers finishing in first place for the first time in franchise history. Among major-league owners, Bush is perceived as a moderate who worked hard to avoid a work stoppage.

November: Bush is elected governor with 53.8 percent of the vote, defeating popular incumbent Ann Richards despite her attacks on the stadium deal and Bush's grasp of issues. (She had declared that it was "difficult to run a race against someone who doesn't have a clue.")

December: Before taking office, Bush resigns as managing general partner of the Rangers but keeps his ownership stake in the team. At the time, his share is 1.8 percent equity interest, plus another 10 percent bonus if the team is later sold and the investors get back their original investment plus interest (Rose, the other general partner, gets a 5 percent bonus for his role).


July: Baseball holds its All-Star Game at The Ballpark in Arlington. But the Rangers, like other major-league teams, continue to suffer from the fans' adverse reaction to the labor stoppage. The team averages only 27,582 fans. That, in turn, reduces the value of the franchise to $138 million, from $157 million the year before, according to the annual Financial World magazine evaluation.


October: The Rangers win the American League West, making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Attendance rebounds to 36,113 for the team, whose stadium revenues ($25.5 million) are deemed tops in baseball by Financial World. The magazine raises the estimated value of the franchise to $173 million.


June: Tom Hicks purchases the Rangers for $250 million, the second-most ever paid for a Major League Baseball team. With his 10 percent escalator bonus, Bush receives $14.9 million for investment.

October: The Rangers win the second division title in team history.

November: Bush becomes the first Texas governor to be elected to consecutive four-year terms, winning 68.6 percent of the vote.


January: The Rangers agree to future payments, including interest, to the ASFDA that will total $22.2 million to cover costs that the sports-development authority incurred related to litigation over the seizure of private property for the ballpark. The agreement brings closure to a dispute that goes back to the Bush era, when the club refused to reimburse the authority after a court judgment.

March: As expected, Bush forms an official committee to explore interest in his running for president of the United States, the first step toward securing the Republican nomination in 2000.

Tom Farrey is a Senior Writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at tom.farrey@espn.com.

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