The Texas Rangers have hired Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister as their manager.
Banister, who resides near Houston, has spent his last 29 years in the Pirates organization. The first of eight of those were in the minor leagues and included a brief appearance on the 1991 Pirates club in which he recorded a base hit in his lone MLB at-bat.
During his coaching career, Banister has served various roles as a Major League fielding coordinator as well as Minor League fielding Coordinator, Minor League coach and for the last four years he has been alongside old friend Clint Hurdle as the Pirates Bench coach.
Banister is a grinder and has had to overcome several huge obstacles in his playing career that included bone cancer in his leg during high school and being paralyzed from the neck down for ten days after a home-plate collision in college. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times wrote a story on the terrible injury and mentions that after missing a year he came back to be a junior college All-American and received a baseball scholarship to the University of Houston.
Two days prior to the hire of Banister, the Rangers had it nailed down to three final candidates. These included Tim Bogar, Banister and former catcher and Indians bullpen coach, Kevin Cash. Banister, who also interviewed for the Houston job, was said to have really impressed the Rangers and may be the new possible favorite over Bogar to get the job.
After going 14-8 to finish off the season, interim manager Tim Bogar was the thought favorite to land the job and had done nothing to really lose it. I give the front office a ton of credit for thoroughly searching for the best candidate and not going with the easy choice in Bogar whose end of the season win streak would often be over analyzed by some teams. I like Bogar a lot but think a return is now doubtful as he will likely find a job elsewhere.
There’s definitely some fixing up to do after the disaster 2014 season, but I believe that this hire is one step in the right direction to getting this club back to the postseason.