Society / Featured Parties

Jim Crane Steps into Shaquille O’Neal’s Giant Shoes — Astros Owner Pinch Hits for Basketball Legend

World Series Loss Isn't Stopping Crane From Doing Good

BY // 10.31.19

In the world of “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” TEACH is breathing a sigh of relief today now that Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is stepping in to fill the oversized shoes of Shaquille O’Neal. And that, my friends, was no small feat.

One might assume that the Astros owner would be reeling from Wednesday night’s World Series loss to the Washington Nationals. But, no. By Thursday afternoon, he had signed on to save the day for TEACH.

The basketball legend (who recently lost his little sister to cancer) unexpectedly had to cancel his fireside-style chat with H-E-B front man and president of H-E-B food and drug stores Scott McClelland. McClelland, of course, has had more than a few Astros stars by his side in the grocery chain’s entertaining TV ads.

As a result, McClelland counts Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, George Springer and Carlos Correa as friends. Our personal fave among the clever ads is Jose Altuve as the magician in black tie tasting the H-E-B Creamy Creation. Add to that the fact that the San Antonio-based grocery chain is one of the Astros’ corporate sponsors.

McClelland and his wife, Soraya, are chairing the November 12 fundraiser along with Astros season ticket holders Carol and Mike Linn. (You can see the Linns on the third or fourth row behind Jim and Whitney Crane‘s seats in Minute Maid Park.) And here the connections and the coincidences get truly close.

The Cranes bought their current home from the Linns, who after building the River Oaks manse of their dreams decided that they wanted to make the move to something different. And when Whitney Crane settled in Houston after leaving her home in California to marry Jim, Carol Linn was one of the first to welcome her with big Texas warmth.

So how could a gentleman refuse this plea to save the day?

With the change in the spotlighted guest, the name of the event might need to be tweaked. Previously known as “Touchdown for Teach” due to the heavy-hitter football players participating — Peyton Manning, Troy Aikman, Vince Wilfork — think of it as the “Grand Slam for TEACH.”

We can hardly wait to hear Crane’s take on the exhilarating American League Championship Series win and the dynamic World Series run that had such an unhappy ending. For details on the event, contact Grace Kim at

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