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Express, Rangers announce affiliation
09/16/2010 3:06 PM ET
ROUND ROCK, Texas -- Round Rock Express Baseball owner and CEO, Reid Ryan, announced Thursday a four-year player development agreement with the Texas Rangers Baseball Club as the organization's Triple-A affiliate. The agreement begins immediately and runs through the conclusion of the 2014 season. The Express had been the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros since 2005.

"Our family was able to get into baseball ownership in 1998 because of the support of the people of Round Rock," Reid Ryan said. "More than a decade later, it is hard to believe that Nolan Ryan is the owner of Double-A, Triple-A and Major League teams. This is a reunion for Ryan Sanders Baseball, and it allows our families and baseball fans to continue what we started here in Round Rock in 1998."

The Express began play in 2000 as the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros when the Ryan family purchased the franchise and moved it from Jackson, Miss. Round Rock enjoyed phenomenal success in its five-year Texas League affiliation, reaching the playoffs four times and winning the 2000 league title. In 2005, the Express joined the Pacific Coast League as the Astros Triple-A affiliate.

"We're happy to bring the Express and the Round Rock community into the Rangers family," Rangers owner and president, Nolan Ryan, said. "Things are headed in the right direction in Arlington, and the relationship with our Minor League affiliates is a big part of that. Having our two highest affiliates in Texas is a positive."

Texas Rangers affiliates were among baseball's most successful franchises this season, as six of the seven teams reached postseason play, including the club's Triple-A affiliate Oklahoma City RedHawks. It was Oklahoma City's fifth playoff appearance since 2002.

"The Rangers are excited about the new relationship with Round Rock, the Ryan family, and all the great people with the Express," Rangers assistant general manager, Thad Levine, said. "Our scouting and player development staffs have done an outstanding job at providing young talent to the Rangers organization. We look forward to having those players continue their journey to the big leagues at The Dell Diamond."

Baseball America ranked the Rangers farm system as Major League Baseball's best prior to the 2009 season, and the league's second best prior to the 2010 season. Of the Rangers' top 10 prospects prior to the 2010 season, three ranked in the publication's top 100 and six have not yet played above the Double-A level.

The Express open their 12th season on April 7, 2011, at The Dell Diamond, beginning the season with two four-game series against the Iowa Cubs and Omaha Royals.

Round Rock Express Baseball, owned and operated by Ryan Sanders Baseball, LP, is a member of the Pacific Coast League.