Report: MLB Had Concerns About Astros Owner Jim Crane Before Sign-Stealing Scandal

MLB owners and execs had reservations about letting Crane buy the team in 2011

Astros Owner Jim Crane Says Sign Stealing "Didn’t Impact the Game"
Owner Jim Crane of the Houston Astros. (Michael Reaves/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / February 25, 2020 11:00 am

During a spring training press conference where he explained his stance on his team’s sign-stealing scandal, Houston Astros owner Jim Crane did not exactly cover himself in glory.

Speaking to reporters, Crane said the organization’s opinion was that stealing signs and communicating to Houston batters what pitch to expect in 2017 “didn’t impact the game.”

“We had a good team,” Crane said. “We won the World Series. We’ll leave it at that.”

That press conference was in 2020. But Crane raised red flags with some, including Major League Baseball executives, long before that, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Prior to Crane purchasing the Astros for $680 million in 2011, MLB owners and execs were unsure about whether to let him buy the team due to concerns about allegations of racism, sexism and systemic discrimination at his logistics firm, Eagle Global Logistics.

Thanks to those concerns — and multiple lawsuits related to them — the vetting process for Crane took much longer than usual.

During the extensive vetting process, MLB investigator looked into Crane’s business dealings and conducted interviews with people who were familiar with a case the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought against Eagle Global Logistics (which was ultimately settled for $9 million).

Finally, after a six-month review that included a one-on-one meeting between Crane and then-MLB commissioner Bud Selig, the sale was approved by a unanimous vote of team owners in November 2011.

“They conducted their diligence, looked into my companies and determined that there was no reason for concern,” Crane told the WSJ. “Since that time, I have operated one of the most diverse clubs in baseball.”

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