Jim Crane is a businessman from Houston, Texas, who is an American. Crane serves as the chairman and CEO of Crane Capital Group, Crane Worldwide Logistics, and Crane Freight and Shipping. He is also the owner and chairman of the Major League Baseball Houston Astros, who have won two World Series titles under his leadership (2017, 2022).
Early Years and Education
James Robert Crane was born in Houston, Texas on January 17, 1954. Crane, who was up in the north St. Louis suburb of Dellwood, Missouri, attended and graduated from Lutheran High School North in 1972. In 2004, he donated $1 million to the school to renovate its sporting facilities and expand the campus from 40 to 67 acres. Due to his contribution, the school dedicated the James R. Crane Athletic Complex in his honor.
In 1976, Crane earned a Bachelor of Science in industrial safety from Central Missouri State University (CMSU; now the University of Central Missouri), where he also joined Tau Kappa Epsilon. Crane was a pitcher with the Central Missouri Mules. UCM’s pitcher got a Division II All-American honorable mention after going 21–8 with a 2.20 ERA.
Crane considered dropping out of college after the death of his father between his freshman and sophomore years. However, his coach, Robert N. Tompkins, drove to his home in north St. Louis and convinced him to return to school.
What is Jim Crane’s Net Worth?
As of November 2022, Jim Crane has an estimated net worth of $1.6 Billion. Jim Crane acquired the Houston Astros for $680 million in late 2011. It was the second-highest fee ever spent for a baseball team at the time. The Astros’ 2011 contract was ultimately finalized.
In exchange for agreeing to move the team from the National to the American League, he purportedly received a 10% discount. Today, the worth of the team has risen to $1.8 billion. The 2017 World Series was won by the Houston Astros on November 1. The first in the history of the organization.
In 2017, Jim Crane advertised his exquisite Pebble Beach estate for $37.9 million. The price was reduced to $29 million, and subsequently to $25 million. He ultimately failed to find a buyer (as of this writing). He paid $5.5 million for the home twenty years ago.
Jim Crane’s Entrepreneurship Journey
After completing college, Crane entered the insurance industry. In March 1984, Crane borrowed $10,000 from his sister and established the air-freight logistics company Eagle USA Airfreight.
Eagle USA Airfreight evolved became Eagle Global Logistics, followed by EGL, Inc., and entered the supply-chain management and information-services industry. In August 2007, EGL amalgamated with CEVA Logistics of the United Kingdom, which was owned by the American private equity capital management and leveraged-buyout firm Apollo Management L.P.
Approximately 17.6% of EGL’s equity was owned by Crane at the time of the merger. Prior to the merger with CEVA, he desired a leveraged, management, or combined buyout of EGL but was unable to acquire finance on acceptable terms.
Later, after obtaining equity support, Crane made an initial offer of $36 per share for EGL. However, Apollo engaged in a bidding war, and the shareholders ultimately chose the Apollo/CEVA offer of $47.50 per share. He opposed the combination between EGL and CEVA.
Crane utilized his EGL earnings to establish Crane Capital Group. In addition, he became a director and minority shareholder (less than 1%) in Western Gas Holdings, LLC, the general partner of Western Gas Partners, LP, a midstream (primarily pipelines and natural gas gathering assets) energy company operating in the southeastern Rocky Mountain region and southern Mid-Continent region (Oklahoma and Texas) of the United States.
In addition, Crane Capital Group engages in Russian Federation and People’s Republic of China gas pipelines and freight shipping ports. Anadarko Petroleum has purchased both Western Gas Holdings and Western Gas Partners. Crane is also the main stakeholder of Crane Worldwide Logistics LLC, chairman of the board for CargoJet, and a director of both Nabors Industries and Western Midstream, a natural gas company.
In 2008, Crane made his first attempt to become a baseball owner when he approached Drayton McLane about purchasing the franchise. However, he backed out at the last minute, preventing a handshake agreement from being reached. In 2009 (for the Chicago Cubs) and 2010 (for the Texas Rangers), he made unsuccessful bids to purchase a team, with the latter offering purportedly being rejected owing to the influence of McLane despite being a better value than the approved one.
In May 2011, Crane reportedly signed a deal with McLane to purchase the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB) for an estimated $650 million. On November 17, 2011, he was unanimously approved by Major League Baseball.
The intention of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was for Houston to move from the six-team National League Central to the four-team American League West. Crane obtained $35 million in bonuses from McLane and the MLB in exchange for this league-change clause, which McLane had previously agreed to.
When Crane purchased the team, they had just completed a 56-win season. During his time as owner, the Astros achieved three straight 100-win seasons, including 2017 and 2022 World Series titles.
In 2017, Crane built three restaurants in Houston: Osso & Kristalla, and Potente, which was named after his children. In the same year, he also founded Crane Safety, a commercial safety supply and training company, and purchased Davaco, a firm that plans and executes high-volume remodels and technology deployments.
Additionally, in 2017, Crane founded Modiant, a software firm that focuses on modernizing freight and transportation management. In 2019, he became a half-owner of the Sonoma County vineyard Aperture Cellars.
Crane has been regarded as the top CEO golfer in the country. He is a scratch golfer. He purchased the Floridian National Golf Club from Wayne Huizenga in April 2010. The Floridian in Palm City, Florida, has just undergone extensive renovations and expansions overseen by architect Tom Fazio.
At the reopening of his Floridian National Golf Club, Crane reflected, “Owning a team and a golf course were two things I never believed I would be able to accomplish.” I am quite pleased that I was able to pull it together.
Let’s Take a Look into Jim Crane’s Personal Life
During the weekend of Memorial Day in 2017, Crane wed Whitney Wheeler. The event was held at the Florida National Golf Club. This is Crane’s third marriage. Together, he and Wheeler have a son named James Robert Crane II. Jared Crane is the Astros’ senior vice president of executive operations.
Krystal Crane Thompson is a member of the Crane Family Foundation’s board of directors. Crane has properties in Moscow, Russia, and Hong Kong in addition to his home in Katy, Texas.
In 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated Eagle USA’s recruiting practices affecting minorities and women. Jim Crane was specifically named in the complaint. An independent claims administrator eventually determined that just 10% of claims were genuine, and the court returned $6M to the corporation, which maintained its rejection of the charges.
In addition to being sued four times for alleged war profiteering, Eagle USA settled three cases between 2006 and 2008. Two officials pled guilty to various offenses, although Crane was not a subject of those investigations.
Houston Astros Controversy
Rob Manfred stated in his comments regarding the Houston Astros sign stealing issue that Jim Crane was unaware of any MLB rule violations committed by his club. Crane sacked the team’s general manager, Jeff Luhnow, and manager, A. J. Hinch, in response to the incident.
A month after the commissioner published his findings, Crane stated at a press conference, “[sign snatching] had no effect on the game.” Less than a minute later, at the same press conference, he denied having said such, citing the Commissioner’s report and stating, “It’s difficult to judge how it affected the game if it affected the game, and we’ll leave it at that.”