If Pirates Jeff Banister Gets Texas Job, What’s It Mean for Bucs?


The Texas Rangers would have to be declared insane to not hire Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister.  When a team needs a change as badly as the Rangers, the worse thing they could do would be to simply promote from within and give the job to Tim Bogar.

"“I think the atmosphere that was created, the communication with players, the in-game management, how he worked with the media were all very good,” Daniels said after the season ended Sunday. “I really appreciate the job he did and that factors in for me.”"

That quote was from Rangers GM Jon Daniels.  It’s not a ringing endorsement.  If Bogar was truly that impressive, the job would be his already.  While he is still considered the favorite for the job as Rangers skipper, overlooking the idea that the Rangers value the attributes of Clint Hurdle in their next manager is foolish.

Since the Rangers can’t have Hurdle, Banister is the Rangers next best thing.  I believe that Banister has the attributes that any GM would want in a skipper.  The only weakness I have noticed in Banister are some of the in-game moves he made when Hurdle was tossed from games over the past few seasons.  But that’s splitting atoms and who knows if Hurdle really turns the game over to Banister as he says he does.

Banister knows the scouting and development side of the game.  That’s what Daniels wants.  Check out one of my favorite pictures of Banny when he was the Pirates roving minor league kingpin.  It wasn’t a position that Banister took lightly–watching him work with the Pirates minor league teams was a blast.  He worked with a passion that can’t be taught during his eight years in that position, overseeing one of the most mis-managed minor league systems in Pirates history.  But he didn’t break, he never left the organization.

Jeff Banister prepares the West Virginia Power for pre-game at the Hagerstown Suns Stadium.

So while Daniels contemplates a decision that might make or break him as the Rangers GM, there is another question that lingers for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  And it’s not the obvious one about who would replace Banister.

How ’bout this question–just how much talent from wthin the Pirates organization would Banny take with him?  Think about that for a moment.   Banister is beloved in the Pirates organization for his pride and commitment.  While Clint Hurdle is Johnny-come-lately, Banister has punched the clock for over 29 seasons. Sooner or later, some really smart GM is going to notice.  And while you ponder the question about who Banny could take with him—think about this.

Jeff Banister might not get the Rangers job.  But he will get a skipper’s job sooner or later.  Are the Pirates prepared for when that time happens?   Is it time for an Assistant Bench Coach to be created and hired?  Do you think for one moment that Banny wouldn’t get a check stroked for Jim Benedict to head to Texas?  The Pirates have a wealth of coaching as well as baseball analytic talent, most of them underpaid.  Those individuals could follow Banister to Arlington where an American League powerhouse could be created in rather quick order.

It’s an American success story.  Jeff Banister–the guy who beat cancer, the player that had seven surgeries on his left ankle and leg back in 1980, and still ended up making it to the show where he has a perfect 1.000 batting average–could be moving closer to the pinnacle of his career.  Jeff Banister –Karen’s husband and great father to two adopted children might be staying near where he grew up if all goes well this week.

While Hurdle had all the God given talent–brains beyond belief and athletic talent that was Sports Illustrated worthy, Banister worked his ass off and the only connection to Sports Illustrated Banister has is his yearly subscription fees.

It’s a Hollywood movie script.  An overnight success story, if you will, all 29 years in the making.

Mar 10, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates hitting coach Jeff Banister (28) watches batting practice prior to the game against the Baltimore Orioles at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports