Ryan loses interest in RedHawks

Monday, July 22nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan has lost interest in buying the Oklahoma RedHawks but the team has other prospective buyers.

Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks is still looking at the team. Tulsa oil man Stuart Price may also be interested. Gaylord Entertainment Co. of Nashville announced its intention to sell the RedHawks in February.

``That is a great market up there,'' said Ryan's son Reid Ryan. ``It's just a great opportunity. But I don't think it's realistic for us at this time because of what all we're doing.''

Nolan Ryan owns the Texas League's Round Rock franchise and is trying to buy a minor league team for Corpus Christi.

Hicks showed some surprise that his Southwest Sports Group remained in the running for the RedHawks' ownership.

``Something came up that may get us re-engaged in the process,'' said Bryan Perez, executive vice president of business development for Southwest. ``We did make a bid on the baseball team, and we were informed that we were not selected as one of the initial people that they wanted to negotiate with, but that they were still interested in talking to us if they couldn't work something out. And I just heard something (Wednesday) that makes me think that that may be the situation now.''

Hicks, who also owns the Dallas Stars hockey team, will soon own the Rangers' AA farm team, too. He is building a ballpark in Frisco, Texas, and will move Tulsa's Texas League team there by 2005.

Also interested in the RedHawks property, according to the Oklahoman, is Tulsa oil man Stuart Price, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully against Republican Steve Largent for the 1st District congressional seat in 1994.

Price did not return phone messages to his home and business.

``A number of parties have expressed an interest,'' said Jim Brown, director of corporate communications for Gaylord Entertainment. ``We can't comment on the identity of any parties.''

Brown said the sale of the RedHawks is not imminent.

The RedHawks' predecessor, the Oklahoma City 89ers, sold for a record price twice and the RedHawks also are expected to attract a record price. Gaylord Entertainment bought the 89ers for $8 million after the 1993 season.