For the love of the game: How baseball may have been perfect start for Samsung in Williamson County

Williamson County officials met with Samsung executives at Dell Diamond in January. (Courtesy Williamson County)
Williamson County officials met with Samsung executives at Dell Diamond in January. (Courtesy Williamson County)

Williamson County officials met with Samsung executives at Dell Diamond in January. (Courtesy Williamson County)

The first attempt to bring Samsung to Williamson County relied on a passion both sides have for what is considered America’s pastime.

When executives from the tech giant visited the county Jan. 27, the meeting took place in the centerfield of Dell Diamond, home of the Texas Rangers' Triple A baseball team, the Round Rock Express. It was a meeting Express CEO Reid Ryan helped make happen, and in midseason form, they knocked it out of the park.

Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell Jr. said a lot of hard work and community teamwork went into the first impression with the Samsung contingent gifted baseball uniforms with Samsung on the back and the number 21.

“Some took off their suit coats and put on the uniform,” Gravell said.

Baseball is big to Samsung and South Korea, where the company is headquartered.


The 10-team Korea Baseball Organization League includes the Samsung Lions, winners of eight Korean Series championships and runners-up 10 times since the team was founded in 1982.

Twenty-five South Korean baseball players have played in Major League Baseball since the mid-1990s, and some found success in Texas.

The Express and Dell Diamond have been a Central Texas tradition since 2000, led then by partners Don Sanders and Hall-of-Famer Nolan Ryan.

Gravell said the 1993 fight when 26-year-old Robin Ventura charged 46-year-old Nolan Ryan on the mound and soon regretted that decision was a topic of discussion at the Jan. 27 meeting.

The fight for Williamson County to land one of the largest-ever investments in Texas was on, and baseball helped bring them together.

The meeting included a VIP video presentation on the big scoreboard screen along with a video touting the county as the perfect home for Samsung.

A gift from Taylor Mayor Brandt Rydell, a football helmet for the Taylor Ducks, was seen in future video meetings with Samsung.

Other local businesses welcomed Samsung to town for the initial visit. Across from Dell Diamond, Gravell said Kalahari Resorts Texas officials and the Nelson family stepped up to the plate and welcomed the business guests to town. The first meeting ended with fireworks.

“The end of the pitch was ‘welcome home,’” Gravell said. “We hit a grand slam that day.”
By Joe Warner
Joe Warner is executive editor of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor for Central Texas and senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.


MOST RECENT

The Austin Trail of Lights will open nighly from Nov. 28 through Dec. 31. (Courtesy Trail of Lights Foundation)
PHOTOS: Austin Trail of Lights returns to Zilker Park this week

The traditional holiday light show is open from Nov. 28 through New Year's Eve.

Commissioners on Nov. 22 voted to approve a density change to preliminary plans for The Preserve, a neighborhood that city documents said could include 565 single-family homes at the northeast corner of Teel and Panther Creek Parkways. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Neighborhood near PGA Frisco could see larger lots; ERCOT says Texas power grid ready for expected winter demand and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 24.

The utility's board of directors will vote on the proposed changes at December's meeting. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
PEC members ask board to not raise solar rates

The utility's board of directors will vote on the proposed changes at December's meeting.

Local and state officials have made statements welcoming Samsung to Taylor following the announcement that the city will be home to its new $17 billion semiconductor fabrication plant. (Courtesy KXAN)
State, local officials react to Texas governor, Samsung joint announcement

Local and state officials have made statements welcoming Samsung to Taylor following the announcement that the city will be home to its new $17 billion semiconductor fabrication plant. 

Austin City Council will meet for a work session dedicated to housing affordability discussions Nov. 30. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Austin City Hall notebook: Council set for dive into housing, development after Thanksgiving break

A Nov. 30 work session could see city leaders work through a range of adjustments to city development code, rules and processes.

The new initiative will build the communities capacity to address homelessness along with collecting data from people who have increased access to those in need. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
ECHO, St. David's Foundation launch new program to build a community approach to homelessness

The program aims to address inequities in traditional homelessness response.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sits beside Samsung CEO Dr. Kinam Kim as he announces the company is brining a $17 billion facility to Taylor. (Screnshot via KXAN)
Samsung makes it official: Announcement from Governor's Mansion confirms $17B facility coming to Taylor

Nearly a year after Williamson County officials began pitching Samsung to bring a megafacility to the area, the electronics giant has made it official.

Bill Curci is a chief operating partner for Shuck Me, a seafood restaurant in Fort Worth. (Bailey Lewis/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Fort Worth restaurant Shuck Me is fishing- and family-centric; a guide to Houston's 2021 Thanksgiving Day Parade and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 23.

Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County health authority, discusses Thanksgiving safety at a news conference. (Darcy Sprague/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin health authorities remind community of COVID-19 risk ahead of Thanksgiving

Austin health officials warned of a high rate of community transmission ahead of Thanksgiving.

Lizzy and Brandon Simon are running the North Austin location. (Courtesy Lizzy Simon)
Operation Turkey to provide thousands in need with Thanksgiving meals

One local couple is running a North Austin site with the goal of serving 2,500 meals to those in need this Thanksgiving.

City Attorney Laura Mueller presented during the Nov. 22 Dripping Springs City Council meeting. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Development moratorium extended to 90 days in Dripping Springs

Council will meet weekly to consider developers' requests to build despite the moratorium.