Jeffery Todd Banister (born January 15, 1964) is an American retired professional baseball player and manager. He is a special assistant for the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball. He served as the manager of the Texas Rangers from 2015 through 2018. Before joining the Rangers, Banister spent 29 years within the organization of the Pirates as a player and coach in both the Pirates' major and minor league system.
Banister at the 2015 Winter Meetings
|Catcher / Manager|
|Born: January 15, 1964|
|July 23, 1991, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 23, 1991, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Career highlights and awards|
Banister played baseball at La Marque High School in La Marque, Texas. He developed bone cancer in his sophomore year, which almost necessitated the amputation of his leg. While playing college baseball for Lee College, he suffered a home plate collision that broke three vertebrae in his neck, leaving him paralyzed for ten days. After rehabilitating, he was named a Junior College All-American the next season, and received a scholarship to the University of Houston, to play for the Houston Cougars baseball team. He was then drafted by the Pirates in 1986. After playing in Minor League Baseball, he appeared in a major league game on July 23, 1991, recording a hit in his only plate appearance. He did not appear in another major league game, and ended his playing career after the 1993 season.
Following his playing career, Banister remained with the Pirates. He served as a manager for their Minor League Baseball affiliates from 1994 through 1998, and then as a minor league and major league field coordinator until 2010. The Pirates considered him for their managerial vacancy before the 2011 season, but hired him as their bench coach. He served in the role through the 2014 season. The Rangers hired Banister as their manager during the 2014–15 offseason, and he was named the American League Manager of the Year for 2015.
Banister attended La Marque High School in La Marque, Texas. At La Marque, Banister played for the school's baseball, basketball, and American football teams. During his sophomore year of high school, Banister injured his right ankle while playing baseball. During an examination of his ankle, which was slow to heal, he was diagnosed with bone cancer. He had developed cysts that required skin grafting to treat. An infection in his leg led to the development of osteomyelitis, which spread from his right ankle to just below his knee. Doctors recommended amputation in order to save the rest of his leg, but Banister refused, as he hoped he would be able to continue his baseball career. Doctors performed seven operations on his leg, which saved it from being amputated. In his senior year, Banister suffered a knee injury playing American football, which nearly led to him being cut from the baseball team due to his decreased mobility. His father suggested he change positions and become a catcher, which allowed him to remain on the baseball team.
At a tryout conducted by professional scouts, Banister was noticed by the coaches at Lee College, a junior college in Baytown, Texas. They recruited Banister to play college baseball at Lee. While catching in a 1983 game, he suffered a collision at home plate, where the baserunner attempted to jump over him, and hit Banister in the head with his knee. The collision broke three of the vertebrae in his neck. Banister was not originally scheduled to play in that game; a scout for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB) told Lee's coach that he hoped to see Banister catch, which resulted in Banister being added to the starting lineup in a last-minute change. As a result of the collision, Banister was paralyzed from the neck down for ten days. Doctors initially warned him that he may never walk again. He had another three operations performed on his back and learned how to walk again during the 1984 season. Entering the hospital weighing 225 pounds (102 kg), he weighed 139 pounds (63 kg) when he was discharged. Banister recovered and played another season for Lee in 1985, and was named a Junior College All-American. He transferred to University of Houston after the season to play for the Houston Cougars baseball team on a scholarship in 1986.
The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Banister in the 25th round of the 1986 Major League Baseball Draft; he was the 621st player chosen in the draft. Playing in Minor League Baseball, Banister made his professional debut as a member of the Watertown Pirates of the Class A-Short Season New York–Penn League in 1986. He had a .145 batting average in 46 games played. In 1987, he played for the Macon Pirates of the Class A South Atlantic League, and batted .254 in 101 games. Banister then played 71 games for the Harrisburg Senators of the Class AA Eastern League in 1988, batting .259. He returned to Harrisburg in 1989, when he batted .238 in 102 games. He was named an Eastern League All-Star in 1989. He returned to Harrisburg for the 1990 season, and recorded a .269 batting average in 101 games. During the 1990 season, he received a promotion to the Buffalo Bisons of the Class AAA American Association. In 12 games for the Bisons, Banister batted .320.
Banister began the 1991 season with Buffalo. The Pirates promoted Banister from the minor leagues on July 23, 1991, when catcher Don Slaught was injured and placed on the disabled list. Manager Jim Leyland used Banister as a pinch hitter for pitcher Doug Drabek in the eighth inning of that day's game against the Atlanta Braves at Three Rivers Stadium. Using Cecil Espy's bat, Banister hit a ball from Dan Petry and just beat shortstop Jeff Blauser's throw to first base. Banister is one of only 15 batters (excluding pitchers) in baseball history to record a hit in his only major league plate appearance.
Banister was sent back to Buffalo without playing in another game for Pittsburgh. He finished the Class AAA season with a .244 average in 79 games. He missed the 1992 season when he suffered a right elbow injury that required surgery. Banister served as a player-coach for the Carolina Mudcats of the Class AA Southern League in 1993. Playing in only eight games, he had a .333 batting average. After the season, he ended his playing career. He retired with a career .247 batting average in 515 minor league games played.
Coaching and managerial careerEdit
After retiring as a player, Banister remained with the Pirates' organization. From 1994 through 1998, Banister served as a manager in the Pirates' minor league system. He served as the manager of the Welland Pirates of the New York–Penn League in 1994. A year later, he managed the Augusta GreenJackets of the South Atlantic League, and led them to win the league's championship. Banister managed in the Hawaiian Winter League in the 1995 and 1996 offseasons. From 1996 through 1997, he was the manager of the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League. Midway through the 1997 season, he was named the manager of the Carolina Mudcats, a position he held through the 1998 season. Banister had a 299–330 win-loss record (a .475 winning percentage) as a manager from 1994 through 1998.
From 1999 through 2002, Banister worked as Pittsburgh's Major League Field Coordinator on the coaching staffs of managers Gene Lamont and Lloyd McClendon. He was then assigned the job of Minor League Field Coordinator, and served in that role from 2003 through 2010. In 2004, he served as the interim manager of Lynchburg when Jay Loviglio resigned from the position due to personal reasons. Banister became the interim pitching coach for Lynchburg in 2008 when Bob Milacki resigned from the position. Mike Steele then took the job from Banister in 2009. Banister managed the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League (AFL) in 2009.
On August 8, 2010, Banister was named the Pirates' interim bench coach after Gary Varsho was fired by the organization. At the end of the 2010 season, the Pirates fired manager John Russell. Banister and Clint Hurdle were the two finalists for the position. The Pirates named Hurdle as their manager, and Banister was named their full-time bench coach. As the Pirates bench coach, Banister learned about sabermetrics from a quantitative analyst who traveled with the team. Banister learned to use quantitative data to inform his decisions on when the Pirates should employ defensive shifts in the field. He was initially chosen to manage Scottsdale in the AFL after the 2014 season, but he was replaced by Pirates' special assistant Frank Kremblas due to the possibility of the Pirates reaching the MLB postseason.
After the 2014 season, Banister interviewed with the Houston Astros as a candidate to fill their managing vacancy, following the firing of Bo Porter. The Astros instead hired A. J. Hinch. He also interviewed with the Texas Rangers, and was a finalist for the position along with Rangers' interim manager Tim Bogar and pitching coach Mike Maddux. On October 16, 2014, the Rangers named Banister their new manager. He signed a three-year contract with an option for a fourth season. Jon Daniels, the Rangers' general manager, indicated that Banister will help the Rangers to incorporate analytics into their baseball decisions.
As Banister and Daniels began to discuss the coaching staff for the 2015 season, it was decided that Bogar, who had a 14–8 record (.636 winning percentage) after Ron Washington's resignation, would not return to the Rangers under Banister. Banister retained Maddux and hitting coach Dave Magadan on his coaching staff, but third base coach Gary Pettis left for the Astros and first base coach Bengie Molina did not return to the team in that role. Banister guided the Rangers to the American League West division championship with a record of 88 wins and 74 losses. The Rangers would end up losing to the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Division Series. Banister was named the American League Manager of the Year after the season.
During the 2015–16 offseason, the Rangers extended Banister's contract through the 2018 season, with an option for the 2019 season, while also releasing pitching coach Mike Maddux and hitting coach Dave Magadan. Bannister later hired Doug Brocail as the new pitching coach and Anthony Iapoce as the new hitting coach.
On September 21, 2018, following several days of speculation and rumors about Banister's future with the Rangers, Banister was fired following a surprise meeting with the Rangers management. He finished with a record of 325 wins and 313 losses in 638 games. On January 6, 2019, the Pirates hired Banister as a special assistant in baseball operations.
- As of games played on September 21, 2018.
|Team||From||To||Regular season record||Post–season record|
|G||W||L||Win %||G||W||L||Win %|
Banister was born on January 15, 1964. He is originally from Weatherford, Oklahoma. At the age of six, the Banisters moved from Weatherford to La Marque. His father, Bob, coached Jeff at La Marque High School on both the football and basketball teams. His mother, Verda, was an algebra teacher at La Marque. He has a sister, Carey. In 1988, his father died at the age of 48 due to a heart attack. His grandfather died of a heart attack three weeks later.
Banister met his wife, Karen, while they were students at the University of Houston. Karen worked as a teacher at Clear Lake High School in Houston. The Banisters have two children: Alexandra and Jacob. Alexandra is a college volleyball player. The Banisters reside in Keller, Texas.
- "Ron Cook: A toast to the Pirates' improbable 2014 postseason push". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "Banister's dream short-lived". The Victoria Advocate. Victoria, Texas. Associated Press. July 28, 1991. p. 2B. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Perrotto, John (July 26, 1991). "Bucs' Banister an amazing study in courage". Beaver County Times. p. C1. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Robinson, Alan (July 24, 1991). "Pirates' Banister finally makes the majors". The Item. Sumter, South Carolina. Associated Press. p. 1D. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Kepner, Tyler (October 9, 2013). "On Baseball; In Dugout, a Grinder Who Never Gave In". The New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Townsend, Brad. "How new Rangers manager beat cancer, potential paralysis; what his tattoo says". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "1986 Watertown Pirates". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "1987 Macon Pirates". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "1988 Harrisburg Senators". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "1989 Harrisburg Senators". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Hart, Al (June 28, 1989). "Serious Injury Had Him Down, But Never Out". Times Union. Albany, New York. p. D6. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- "1990 Harrisburg Senators". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "1990 Buffalo Bisons". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Kepner, Tyler (April 2, 2011). "Extra Bases; Jeff Banister: A Pirate Once, and a Pirate Still". The New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "1991 Buffalo Bisons". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- "1993 Carolina Mudcats". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Pierre Noujaim (October 16, 2014). "Texas Rangers Hire Jeff Banister As Manager". KCEN-TV. Archived from the original on October 20, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- "1994 Welland Pirates". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Meyer, Paul (August 26, 1994). "Welland to majors — it's one long haul". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. B3. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- "1995 Augusta GreenJackets". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Biertempfel, Rob (September 27, 2014). "Pirates bench coach Banister interviews for Astros manager job". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "1996 Lynchburg Hillcats". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "1997 Carolina Mudcats". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "1998 Carolina Mudcats". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Meyer, Paul (March 12, 2008). "Spring Training: Prospects trying to make name for themselves". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved July 14, 2010.
- Dvorchek, Robert (June 24, 2004). "Notebook". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. C5. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Price, Karen (August 11, 2010). "Bannister spends first day in new role". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
- Brink, Bill (November 4, 2010). "Pirates Notebook: Manager search down to Bannister, Hurdle". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "Pittsburgh Pirates hiring Clint Hurdle as manager". ESPN.com. November 14, 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "Nick Leyva joins Pittsburgh Pirates' staff as third base coach". ESPN.com. Associated Press. November 24, 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "Grant: What it means to hire Jeff Banister as Rangers manager". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- Lindbergh, Ben (September 23, 2014). "The Pirates' Sabermetrics Road Show". Grantland. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- Brink, Bill (October 14, 2014). "Pirates bench coach Banister finalist for Texas job". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "Rangers hire Jeff Banister as manager". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- "Jeff Banister meets with Tim Bogar, Mike Maddux; new manager 'very caring, motivated,' says Maddux". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- Hawkins, Steven. "Baseball lifer Banister home as Rangers manager". Houston Chronicle. Associated Press. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- Cowlishaw, Tim (October 16, 2014). "Cowlishaw: Rangers getting great story, not 'yes man,' in new manager Jeff Banister". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
- Grant, Evan. "Rangers didn't want to repeat history, had to keep Tim Bogar, Jeff Banister away from unfair situation". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- Wilson, Jeff (October 29, 2014). "Rangers' off-season priority is finishing internal work". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
- Taylor, Jean-Jacques (October 8, 2015). "Banister's belief helped Rangers turn season around". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
- "Jeff Banister". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- "Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers live scores and updates: Winner takes all as teams meet for ALDS Game 5". National Post. October 14, 2015. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- Ortiz, Jorge L. (November 17, 2015). "Rangers' Jeff Banister earns AL Manager of the Year". USA Today. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- Stevenson, Stefan (February 19, 2016). "Texas Rangers reward Jeff Banister with raise, extension". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
- "Rangers hire Doug Brocail as pitching coach, Anthony Iapoce as hitting coach". Associated Press. November 5, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
- "Jeff Banister out as Texas Rangers manager". Dallas Morning News. September 21, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
- Brink, Bill (January 6, 2019). "Pirates hire Jeff Banister to join baseball operations". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- Sacco, John (July 26, 1991). "Finally on top: After so many terrible setbacks, Banister hits the major leagues". Observer–Reporter. Washington, Pennsylvania. p. B6. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- Stephenson, Stefan. "Emotions run deep for Texas-bred Banister, family". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 7, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Wilson, Jeff. "Rangers to hire Pirates coach Jeff Banister as manager". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "Jeff Banister honored with 2011 "Pride of the Pirates" award". Pittsburgh Pirates (Press release). MLB.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jeff Banister.|
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
| Welland Pirates Manager
| Augusta GreenJackets Manager
| Lynchburg Hillcats Manager
| Carolina Mudcats Manager
| Pittsburgh Pirates Bench Coach
| Texas Rangers Manager