Houston Astros owner Jim Crane started out as a little guy. (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan.)
Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve are in the center of everything for the Astros.
Everything Houston endured during Hurricane Harvey will be reflected in the Astros' championship rings. (Photo by Charlie Riedel / AP)
Houston Astros owner Jim Crane keeps a close eye on things in his office at Minute Maid Park. (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan.)
Mack Fowler, Jim Crane
When Jim Crane first arrived in Houston, pulling his entire life possessions in a small U-Haul trailer attached to his car, he used to work a second job delivering freight at night. The Houston Astros owner can still backup an 18-wheeler into a loading dock (no easy feat) and he clearly hasn’t forgotten other lessons from those days either.
For Crane is giving every member of the Houston Astros organization — from the top to the bottom — a world championship ring. That means that while Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and the rest of the Astros 2017 World Champions get their gaudy, diamond-encrusted rings in an elaborate, much-anticipated pregame ceremony Tuesday night, every usher, custodian and other Astros employee will be getting their own versions of the championship rings as well.
“We wanted to do something for the little guys,” Crane says. “I’m a little guy.”
Crane, now the mega multi-millionaire owner of the best team in baseball, always tries to remember how relatively humble his own start was. He came to Houston with little and needed to borrow $10,000 from his sister to start his first company.
Now, Crane is making sure the hard-working dreamers throughout the Astros organization get a tangible world championship reward.
“Some of our ushers have been with us 30-35 years and they’ve never gotten anything,” Crane notes.
Now, they’ll have a World Championship ring. That certainly beats some fake gold watch or token restaurant gift certificate.
Jim Crane is sharing the love (and the championship hardware). The Astros will give out more than 1,100 championship rings to cover every employee in the organization.
While Crane has largely kept the design of the Astros’ rings secrets, Houston Strong will be a major component, recognizing that this was anything but just another championship. The backdrop of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation and the Astros’ determination to do something for the city will be recognized on the rings.
“The rings are in the ballpark locked up and ready to go for tomorrow,” Crane says. “We’ve got somebody watching them. We’ve got quite a bit of money invested in them. We can’t wait to get them out of here and into people’s hands.”
Hopefully, the ring ceremony will have a little less unexpected drama than the World Series Championship flag unveiling did at the home opener on Monday night. (The giant black shroud covering the gold medal pennant above left center field near the train tracks just wouldn’t come off. An Astros employee eventually had to climb the ladder and help pull it off). Just a little delayed magic on the eve of ring night.
Crane’s investment in the championship rings went up exponentially when he decided to give everyone who works in the Astros organization some type of a championship ring. That’s how a first-class organization goes about things.
That’s how a former little guy pays homage to the power of a job well done on every level.