The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to let us know who won’t get the managerial job. Tony Pena is the latest name checked off the list.
The five-time All-Star catcher was thought to be a candidate for the Pirates job, but it appears dead. The buzz in Pittsburgh was hot throughout October for both Pena and Andy Van Slyke. But hiring a manager simply because they once won four Gold Gloves and had connections to an earlier, more successful Pirates regime isn’t going to happen.
Pena was the American League manager of the year with Kansas City in 2003. He is 53 years old.
Van Slyke was a Pittsburgh icon. He has not been a manager. He was a coach for the Detroit Tigers. The 2008 season wasn’t the best and afterward Van Slyke wrote Tigers Confidential: The Untold Inside Story of the 2008 Season. The controversial book certainly didn’t help his employment career and he *ahem* left to pursue other interests.
I believe Pena or Van Slyke would be exciting as managers. It just won’t be in Pittsburgh anytime soon. Could you imagine Van Slyke being hired as the manager of the 2011 team and then writing a book about the Pirates season?
Wait. Maybe Van Slyke should be the guy.
Here is our take: the Pirates are leading us to believe that they are considering other managers that are still in the playoffs. Ok, yeh sure. I don’t buy it. Just a gut feeling some of us have. We also think the press release is already written and the company lines are being rehearsed.
We’re looking forward to hearing it.
Banister is the guy. He’s loyal. He’s cheap. People have written that he knows the game well. He certainly has spent time watching the young Pirates talent. And as you know, talent is the key to winning.
Banister has deep roots with the Pirates, but of course Banister wasn’t a star like Pena and Van Slyke were, but nonetheless there is a connection. The roots of Banister’s work and life are incredible. Hell, Jeff Banister is Forrest Gump.
Banister worked his way to the majors and was on the Bucs roster for five days. He had a hit in his only at-bat in the majors after being a 25th round pick in 1986.
“It’s become an obsession for me to make [the majors], but I know to just take each day as it comes. You can’t put a time table on your dreams. I know one day I’ll play in the majors, even if it’s only for one day.”—-1991 Jeff Banister
The fact he was even drafted is amazing considering these two things:
Banister overcame cancer. While he was in high school, bone cancer nearly caused his leg to be amputated. While playing college ball at Baytown Junior College, his vertabrae were crushed in a home plate collision. It left Banister temporarily paralyzed.
We are guessing that when Banister is named manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates it won’t be popular. Andy Van Slyke and Tony Pena were tremendous Pirates, let’s remember them that way forever. It makes little sense for the Pirates to have an inferiority complex and reach back into their past for a manager. This front office has always looked forward, not back.
Looking back for the winning years would require a telescope.
Jeff Banister’s Minor League Managerial Record
The Giants sent an artist to the World Series. Seriously, a Giants fan thanked a Rangers fan for being at the game? Damn those ticket prices attract great fans.