Get to know Jeff Banister
By John Phelan
According to Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal and the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Jeff Wilson, Jeff Banister is the Texas Rangers’ new manager.
Banister bested fan-favorite Tim Bogar and newcomer Kevin Cash to take the top step in the Rangers dugout previously held by Ron Washington. Banister is a career Pittsburgh Pirate, playing his entire career in the Pirates farm system and serving as Clint Hurdle’s bench coach since 2010.
Banister was born in Weatherford, Oklahoma and played baseball on scholarship at The University of Houston. However, what truly defines Banister is his battle with adversities. Tyler Kepner of The New York Times recently published an article on Banister and his battle back to baseball.
"“Banister had bone cancer in high school and endured seven operations on his left ankle.”"
After enduring surgeries and illnesses, Banister fought his way onto a junior college baseball team:
"“In 1983, at a junior college game in Alvin, Tex., he was temporarily paralyzed from the neck down after a home-plate collision.Banister was a catcher, though he was not supposed to play there that day. But a Yankees scout had told his coach he wanted to see Banister catch, so there he was, gathering a throw from right field that drifted up the third-base line, expecting the runner to swerve around him.Instead, the runner tried to leap over Banister, his knee colliding with Banister’s head. The tingling, vibrating sensation of a funny-bone hit overtook Banister’s body, and he needed surgery to relieve pressure on his spinal cord. He entered the hospital at 225 pounds. He left it, he said, at 139.”"
Doctors told Banister not to play baseball again and to pursue safer career paths. Banister’s response: “Doc, I’m going to play in the big leagues.” And he did.
"“Banister, 49, played one game for the Pirates in 1991, beating out an infield single against Atlanta’s Dan Petry at Three Rivers Stadium. He never played in the field, and he never played in the majors again … His batting average is frozen in time at 1.000.”"
So welcome, Jeff Banister. Welcome back to Texas and welcome to your new home.