1980 - 1988

With his success with the California Angels and his mutual respect for owner Gene Autry, Nolan had thought he would finish his career with the Angels. Unfortunately he did not anticipate general manager Buzz Bavassi. Negotiations between Nolan's agent - Dick Moss - and Bavassi became so hostile, Nolan had made up his mind he was not returning to the Angels as long as Bavassi was the GM.

Bavassi had underestimated Nolan's value in the free agent market as he was selected by 12 teams in the re-entry draft. New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner actively presued Nolan but when Moss informed Nolan the Houston Astros were interested in his services, Nolan instructed Moss to do whatever possible to cut a deal with the Astros.

Nolan's quest to play for the team he watched as a kid growing up in Alvin became a reality when new Houston Astros owner John McMullen offered a three year contract worth a million dollars a season. Nolan had become the first salaried million dollar athelete.

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