Crane's Double Play

Jim Crane made it back into freight forwarding after he lost an epic battle for his company, and now he’s made it back into the sports world.

Crane, the former chairman of Eagle Global Logistics, won a bid this week to buy the Houston Astros. He is the leader of a group that will pay $680 million for the franchise, subject to the approval of Major League Baseball. 

The winning bid came a couple of years after Crane stepped away from an attempt to buy the Texas Rangers.

Crane’s certainly not new to baseball — in fact the St. Louis native was a star athlete in college. And he never let his work building Eagle into one of the United States’ largest freight forwarders get in the way of his love of sports.

Crane was famous at Eagle for scheduling company meetings close to world-class golf courses, and some Eagle staffers used to whisper that having a low handicap was at least as important as reporting good sales numbers for anyone looking to advance at the business. And Crane was not the usual corporate duffer, interested in playing 'customer golf' — He was perennially at the top of Golf Digest’s rankings of the best CEO golfers.

His competitive drive led to a high-profile, high-pitched bidding war for Eagle after he tried to take the publicly-traded company private in 2007. But losing the battle to Apollo Management, which combined Eagle with TNT Logistics to form CEVA Logistics, also made Crane an even richer man.

Crane got back into forwarding a couple of years ago with Crane Worldwide Logistics (Crane … Eagle — Get it?). 

So anyone in shipping knows Jim Crane is not used to standing on the sidelines for long. Major League Baseball may only just be learning that.

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