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Justice Says Goodbye To Drayton McLane

Though Richard Justice has left the happy hunting ground of the Houston Chronicle for greener pastures at MLB.com, he hasn't forgotten his old gig. He's got a column up today about former Astros owner Drayton McLane, extolling the virtues of that fixture in Houston baseball for their most successful run in franchise history.

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McLane caught a lot of flak over the years for much of what Justice brings up here. He was very hands-on and that rubbed some GMs the wrong way. He took over negotiations with Carlos Beltran and with Carlos Lee, to varying degrees of effectiveness.

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But, I don't he deserves any long-term antipathy from fans. McLane was easily the best owner in Houston baseball history and did a service to all Astros fans by keeping Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio around for their entire careers.

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He was also a decent human being, another thing Justice does a great job of chronicling. To most fans, that's not an important requirement for the man in charge, but it should be. All that matters in a legacy is usually winning and losing. Drayton will be remembered for his insistence on winning and how that insistence impeded winning late in his term.

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New owner Jim Crane has some big shoes to fill on both counts. If he wins, people won't care how he handles things behind the scenes, but I hope he can leave a similar legacy to McLane behind the scenes as well.

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