(by Craig Berger, exclusive to NxtGenNexus)

The year 2017 will see the Houston Astros second appearance in the World Series ever. One family that will be watching with interest will probably be the McLane family, which owned the team from 1993 to 2011.

Robert McClane worked on someone else’s farm until 1885, when he finally earned enough for his own retail grocery store. In 1894, he went into the wholesale grocery business and built a wholesale grocery distribution center into a family business. His son Drayton McClane took over the business and put his own son, Drayton McClane, Jr., to work in 1945, when the young McClane was only 9.

His time learning the grocery business served him well, as after earning his MBA, he returned to the family business and ultimately spent 14 years as general manager of operations before becoming President the McClane company in 1965. Over his tenure, he expanded the McLane company from a three million dollar a year business to a 19 billion dollar corporation.

Ultimately, Drayton, Jr. was able to sell the family business to Sam Walton to get the money to buy the Houston Astros, although he remains Chairman of the McLane Group. In 2005, under McLane’s ownership, the Houston Astros found themselves in their first World Series in team history, unfortunately losing to the Chicago White Sox in a sweep.

Drayton Jr. sold the team in 2011, for undisclosed “family reasons,” so he never got to see the team secure a World Series victory. However, his influence on the team was no doubt felt when the Astros clinched the American League pennant in 2017 to earn the opportunity to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the world classic. Drayton Jr.’s opportunity to own the Astros over the course of their climb to baseball greatness was no doubt a great reward for sticking to his guns as the third generation in a family business.

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