Ballpark Figures

Now that the Houston Astros have Randy Johnson, can they afford to sign him to a long-term contract? His first two starts in the Astrodome boosted attendance by 20,000 fans a night. At an average ticket price of $10, that means his economic impact was $200,000, plus an additional $30,000 from six thousand more cars at $5 a car, plus another $200,000 from an average concessions expenditure of $10 a person. Johnson is scheduled to pitch two home games in September, but one is against St.

BUSINESS • Thomas O. Hicks

IT’S PREGAME BATTING PRACTICE for the Texas Rangers, and fans are leaning over the railing, trying to get Juan Gonzalez’s autograph, when a tall man in a business suit walks onto the field. “Mr. Hicks! Mr. Hicks!” several of them call to the new owner of the team, who smiles and walks over. It’s not every day an executive signs autographs at the ballpark.

Success by Design

It’s a typical day in the neighborhood at Austin’s Design Edge. A staff meeting has been called, so forty or so youthful employees are rolling chairs across the concrete floor to the conference room or queuing up at the coffeepot. Co-owner and president Pearce Jones is hurrying around in a T-shirt, jeans, and bare feet, and as usual, somebody’s dog is ambling about the premises.

Shrinking Giant

FOR SEVENTY YEARS THE MATADOR RANCH, WITH MORE than a million acres of grazing land, was one of Texas’ mythic, mammoth cattle empires, along with the King Ranch in South Texas and the XIT and the JA in the Panhandle.

Y’all Street

IF IT HAS BEEN A GREAT YEAR FOR U.S. STOCKS, it’s been even better for Texas stocks: They were up more than 42 percent from May 1, 1997, to April 30, 1998, beating the Standard & Poor’s 500 even as America’s long-running bull market stampeded. Don’t believe it?

Wooly

IS OUR STATE’S MIGHTY mohair empire—which produces 90 percent of the country’s total product—on the verge of unraveling? You’d think so if you visited the mohair meccas along the Edwards Plateau. In Edwards County, for instance, the Angora goat population is 30 percent lower today than it was back in 1993—it’s 50 percent lower statewide—and the price of mohair is about $1 per pound, down from more than $3 in 1994.

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