2010 marks the 18th season for Drayton McLane, Jr., as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Houston Astros Baseball Club. During his tenure at the helm, the Astros have undoubtedly had their most successful run in franchise history.
Drayton's philosophy remains the same, a philosophy that he enthusiastically preaches to his staff on a regular basis. "We have two missions: to be a champion, and to make a positive difference in the community!"
"BE A CHAMPION"
Since Drayton and his family purchased the team in 1993, the Astros rank third in the National League and sixth in the Majors in winning percentage (.530) over 17 seasons from 1993-2009. The team has won 1,424 games while losing only 1,264 during McLane's 17-year tenure of ownership.
The Astros have reached the postseason in six of the last 13 seasons with Wild Card berths in 2004 and 2005, and National League Central Division titles in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001. Prior to 1993, the Astros had reached the postseason just three times in the first 31 seasons of the franchise.
The 2005 season was the most successful on the field for the Houston franchise in its history. The Astros reached heights not previously attained, when the team won its first National League Championship and advanced to the World Series. On October 25, 2005, Minute Maid Park played host to the first World Series game ever played in the state of Texas.
Despite a 15-30 record through May 24 of the 2005 season, Drayton remained committed to the team's core group of players and believed that they could turn the season around. What followed was remarkable and historic, as the 2005 Astros rallied to become the first team since the 1914 Boston Braves to make the playoffs after being as many as 15 games below .500 at one point during the season. The team won its first National League crown on October 19, 2005, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in the last game ever played at Busch Stadium.
Over the last 13 seasons, only the Yankees (12), Braves (9), Red Sox (8) and Cardinals (7) have made the playoffs more than Drayton's Astros. In three of the last seven seasons in which the team missed the postseason (2003, 2006, and 2008), the team was not eliminated from playoff contention until the final week of the season. Another highlight in Drayton's tenure occurred in 2001, when the Astros were named Organization of the Year by four outlets: TOPPS, SportsTicker, Baseball America and Baseball Weekly.
In the last six years, the Astros have hosted two Division Series, two League Championship Series, and two World Series games, as well as the 2004 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The 75th edition of the Midsummer Classic was a treat for Astros fans and the city, as the world's top baseball talent converged on the city of Houston on July 13, 2004.
Drayton has shown a strong commitment to putting a solid, competitive team on the field as the Astros have had one of the highest payrolls in the National League for the past several years and even topped that list in 2006. Current Astros All-Stars Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee and Roy Oswalt were all signed to lucrative, multi-year deals in recent years.
"MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN THE COMMUNITY"
The success of the Astros has not been limited to the playing field. When he purchased the team, one of Drayton's main goals was to help make a positive difference in the community. This dream is being realized through both the players and the front office staff, who combined to volunteer for more than 1,400 hours of community service in 2009.
The Astros in Action Foundation was founded in 2000 and has served in thousands of projects and events, working to strengthen the community while dispersing close to $5.0 million throughout the Houston region. The Astros organization attends charity events, underwrites scholarships, visits children's hospitals and hosts underprivileged children at the ballpark. Drayton also serves on a number of boards and committees. He is actively involved with the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, Greater Houston Partnership, and the United Way. He serves as Chairman of the Board at Scott & White Hospital, immediate past chairman of Baylor University, is on the board of directors of The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, and provides leadership as Vice President of the executive committee of the National Boy Scouts of America.
The Houston Astros' commitment to making a positive difference in the community was exemplified in 2008 during the aftermath of Hurricane Ike when Drayton, the Astros in Action Foundation, and the Astros players and staff made a combined $1 million donation to the Gulf Coast Ike Relief Fund. The team also enacted numerous initiatives during the final week of games at Minute Maid Park in September of that season focused on relief for hurricane victims, including a blood drive, food and supply drives, and collection of donations for the Gulf Coast Ike Relief Fund.
Drayton succeeded in leaving an indelible mark on the city of Houston with the construction of beautiful Minute Maid Park, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2010. When the venue welcomed its first fans in 2000, few realized what a surge of energy it would bring to the downtown area. Drayton's passion for baseball and the Houston Astros franchise is shared by the citizens of Houston, as more than 28 million fans have visited the ballpark in its first 10 seasons, reaching the three-million mark in four of those seasons. In 2004, Houston fans set an attendance record and provided a level of excitement and enthusiasm that propelled the team to an 18-game home winning streak. Adjacent to historic Union Station, the street-level ballpark was designed to blend harmoniously into the diversity of its surroundings. Since construction began in 1998, the development around the ballpark has increased tremendously and has had a positive economic impact on the surrounding area. The 40,976-seat, state-of-the-art ballpark ushered in a new era of baseball in Houston, and the first 10 seasons in the new downtown ballpark have included some of the most successful in the history of the franchise by any barometer.
During his 17 years in Major League Baseball, Drayton has served on MLB's Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Legislative Affairs, Ownership and Realignment committees, and the MLB Advanced Media Board.
After receiving his undergraduate degree from Baylor University and graduate degree from Michigan State University, Drayton returned to his hometown of Cameron, Texas, and began working in the family business, the McLane Company. What began as a small grocery distribution center grew, under Drayton's leadership, into an international firm with 18 divisions throughout the United States. Drayton worked his way through the ranks, beginning in the warehouse. Before merging the business with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in 1991, Drayton had served as the company's President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board. He now devotes his time to McLane Group, the family holding company for McLane Global, McLane Advanced Technologies, McLane Portugal, Classic Foods, Hometown Favorites, LoneStar Plastics and the Houston Astros.
Over the years, Drayton has received many significant awards and has been recognized in many ways. Most recently, he received the title "Regent Emeritus" from Baylor University on February 11, 2010, and, on May 2, 2009, he and his wife, Elizabeth, were honored when Michigan State held a ceremony to formally name their new ballpark McLane Baseball Stadium. Drayton and Elizabeth made a $4 million donation toward the new facility.
In 2008, Drayton received the Russell H. Perry Free Enterprise Award from the Dallas Baptist University, the Silver Buffalo from the Boy Scouts of America in 2004, the Distinguished Leadership Award from Leadership Houston in 2002, and, in 2000, the Father of the Year Award from the Houston Community Partners. In addition, he was presented with the Herbert Hoover Award from Food Distributors International in 1998, and was honored with the Golden Plate Award in 1997 from the American Academy of Achievement. He also received an honorary doctorate from Michigan State University and was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame and the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.
On January 19, 2005, Scott & White Memorial Hospital honored Drayton and his wife by creating the Elizabeth and Drayton McLane Jr. Chair in Health and Wellness, an endowed chair that is a joint appointment between the hospital and the Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine. The chair focuses on several items, including preventive care, quality of life, and general well-being.
Additionally, Drayton received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in January 2008. The award is given to those executives who, by their examples and their business practices, have shown a deep concern for the common good beyond the bottom line.
Drayton and Elizabeth reside in Temple, Texas, and are proud parents and grandparents. They have two sons: Drayton III and Denton. Drayton III and his wife, Amy, have two sons, Drayton IV and Brooks. Denton and his wife, Amy, also have two sons, Jeff and Jake.
Drayton and Elizabeth are active members of First Baptist Church of Temple, where Drayton teaches Sunday School and currently serves as an active Deacon and Chairman of the Deacon Board.
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