"Baseball turned its back on the problem and ignored it," Ryan said. "Anytime you realize you have a problem, the longer you go without addressing that problem, then when you do decide to address it, the tougher it is to do. I think that's where we are with baseball."
Ryan spoke to about 300 fans attending an open house at The Ballpark at Arlington. He took about a dozen questions, including whether he thought baseball could solve the steroids problem itself or if federal intervention was needed.
"It's painful to go through. But I feel like we are headed in the right direction," Ryan said. "We will get a handle on it. How soon will that be? I don't know. But I think it will be in the near future and (performance-enhancing drugs) will be something in our history."
Ryan spent 27 major league seasons with the New York Mets, Angels, Houston Astros and Rangers before retiring in 1993. He threw seven no-hitters, won 324 games and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
The 61-year-old Ryan was hired with the hope he could help turn around a franchise that has finished no better than third in the AL West since 2000. He had previously worked for the Astros as a special assistant to Houston general manager Ed Wade, scouting players and holding pitching camps.