He grew up in Alvin, Texas, just 26 miles from the Astrodome. His dad signed with the Astros when he was eight, and he – along with younger brother Reese – would spend the next nine years as “dome rats” – growing up with the kids of other players like Jose Cruz and Phil Garner.
When his own playing career ended, Reid made the decision to stay in minor league baseball, but this time as an owner. Along with his father and Houston businessman Don Sanders, he founded Ryan Sanders Baseball – the current parent company for the Round Rock Express and one-time parent company of the Corpus Christi Hooks. When the Express started in 2000 they were the Double-A Affiliate of the Astros. Fast-forward five years and the Astros Double-A affiliation would move to the brand new Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi (as the Hooks), allowing the Express to become the Astros new Triple-A Affiliate – giving Ryan Sanders the top two levels of the Astros minor league system.
After building one of the best organizations in all of minor league baseball Reid made one of the toughest decisions he’s ever had to make. He decided to leave the company he literally built from the ground up to become the President of the Houston Astros – the team he literally grew up with. I know it was tough for him to uproot his family and leave behind all the relationships with employees, fans and sponsors in Round Rock – but this was his opportunity to lead an MLB team – the MLB team that he grew up just 26 miles from. After handing the Express baton to brother Reese, he and his family traveled east for “the show.”
Although in May of 2013 it wasn’t much of a show when Reid showed up. On the field the Astros were one their way to their third consecutive 100-loss season, losing a record 111 games that year. Off the field was not any better. The team’s TV partner (which the Astros had an ownership in) declared bankruptcy that year. Many of the old Astros players in the area felt disconnected from the team, along with fans and sponsors. And to cap it off, on one of Reid’s first days on the job at Minute Maid Park a snow cone vendor brought his tray of shaved ice deliciousness into the bathroom stall with him while he relieved himself – an act which was caught on cell phone and sent to all the local media outlets and social media platforms.
Fast forward four years and the Astros have a solid TV contract with AT&T SportsNet with great viewership. Home attendance has gone from 27th in 2013 to 15th in 2017. But regardless of all the numbers, there is a spirit of family with the Astros. A family that includes the players, ex-players, front office, game day employees, sponsors and fans. Although on a much bigger stage than his minor league days, you can still see Reid promoting that family atmosphere at every home game walking throughout the ballpark stopping to talk with anyone that asks.
The Ryan family has always been about bringing the game of baseball to as many people as possible, and last night was the culmination of that mission. Although GM Jeff Luhnow, Manager AJ Hinch and the unbelievable roster of young stars and experienced vets deserve the credit for winning the World Series, Reid was a big part in letting everyone (fans, sponsors, employees) feel like it was “their” team too.
Congrats buddy, you #EarnedHistory. The next snow cone is on me.”
About J.J. Gottsch
Gottsch is the longest-tenured employee with Ryan Sanders Baseball and has played a key role in the development of the Round Rock Express and Corpus Christi Hooks.
As Executive Vice President, Gottsch is given the task of expanding the Ryan Sanders Baseball Entertainment Division, growing new areas of business and promoting sponsor and civic relations in the Corpus Christi and Austin/Round Rock markets.
He’s brought several marquee events to Round Rock and Corpus Christi. Portions of the movie “The Rookie” and TV show “The Simple Life 2” were filmed at the Dell Diamond as well as the Jim Rome “World Tour” in 2003. Gottsch worked with Director Michael Meredith on the film, “The Open Road,” starring Justin Timberlake, Jeff Bridges, Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson. Timberlake portrayed fictional Hooks player Carlton Garrett, with portions of the film shot at Whataburger Field.
Gottsch has also been instrumental in bringing several concerts to Ryan Sanders Baseball venues including “The Bob Dylan Show,” featuring Dylan, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp, the Zac Brown Band, Charlie Daniels Band and several other festivals and post-game acts. The Dell Diamond and Whataburger Field have also been host to several non-baseball sporting events including MLS Soccer, Top Rank Boxing and National Pro Fastpitch – the highest level of women’s professional softball.
Gottsch sits on the steering committee for the National Sports Forum and is a member of the Board of Directors for Foster Angels of Central Texas (FACT) and the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay.
J.J., his wife Evonne and daughter Emma reside in Austin with their bulldog Memphis.
About Reid Ryan
Named the club’s President of Business Operations on May 17, 2013, Reid Ryan is one of the youngest team presidents in the game. He brings enthusiasm and energy to the organization, while also providing a wealth of experience working in professional baseball.From day one, Reid has emphasized the importance of the fan experience and has made it a personal mission to openly engage with the Astros fan base. At nearly every home game, Reid can be found in the stands, speaking with Astros fans on a personal level. Within a few weeks of starting his new position and making his rounds through the ballpark, Reid used that fan feedback to make some changes. He followed up on a specific request to have the ballpark opened earlier in order to give fans access to Astros batting practice, which is now stadium policy. Whether he’s in the ballpark on game days or on the Community Leaders ball fields participating in youth baseball and softball clinics with local at-risk children and teens, Reid takes pride in being an active member of the Houston community.
Before joining the Astros, Reid was the founder and CEO of both the Corpus Christi Hooks and the Round Rock Express minor league franchises, both of which are perennially lauded as two of the top franchises in minor league attendance, stadium satisfaction and franchise value. Shortly after coming on board in Houston, Reid continued to affect positive change by bringing the Corpus Christi Hooks into the fold as an owned and operated affiliate of the Houston Astros. The Round Rock Express remains the Triple A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
Reid’s history with Texas baseball goes back decades. During the 1980s, Reid was a bat boy for the Astros while his father and Hall of Famer Nolan was an All-Star pitcher in the Astrodome. He later pitched at the University of Texas and TCU, playing a part in two Southwest Conference Titles (Texas ’91, TCU ’94). Reid went on to pitch in the minor leagues for two seasons (1994-95) in the Rangers system after being selected in the 17th round of the June 1994 Draft.
A long-time respected member of minor league baseball’s leadership group, Reid has maintained his ownership interests in the Pacific Coast League’s Round Rock Express. He currently serves as the Texas League (Corpus Christi Hooks) Board of Trustees representative and is the Finance Chairman for minor league baseball. Recently, Reid has become active with the Major League Baseball Game Presentation, Marketing and Youth Programs Committee.
Reid is involved in several other business ventures including R Bank, a Texas-based community bank chartered in Round Rock, Texas, for which he serves as a founding board member and organizer. Reid is an active member in the Houston chapter of Young Presidents Organization, on the board of the Greater Houston Partnership, a board member for the Spring Spirit Baseball and recently served as Honorary Chair for the Covenant House executive sleep out. Ryan is also a member of Second Baptist Church Houston.
His passions include spending time watching his kids play youth sports and spending time at the Ryan family ranch. He and his wife Nicole are the proud parents of one son, Jackson, and two daughters, Victoria and Ella. The Ryan family lives in Houston.