In My Own Words: Jeff Banister Features Up Close, Personal Look At New Rangers Manager

Premieres Sunday, Dec. 7 at 5:00 p.m. on FOX Sports Southwest

New Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister will be featured in the next episode of FOX Sports Southwest's IN MY OWN WORDS series set to premiere on Sunday, Dec. 7 at 5:00 p.m. CT.   

In a 30-minute conversation style interview with FOX Sports Southwest anchor John Rhadigan at Banister's home in League City, Texas, the rookie skipper candidly discusses his road to the major leagues and what he expects in his first role as a big league manager this upcoming season. 

Bannister spent the last 29 seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization as a player, minor league manager, and major league coach before the Rangers named him the club's 18th full-time manager in October.    

Along the way, Banister fought several battles and endured numerous obstacles, including seven operations on his left ankle and leg for bone cancer and osteomyelitis while at La Marque high school in 1980 and temporary paralysis from a broken neck suffered in a home plate collision while playing at Baytown Junior College in 1983.

Banister shares emotional stories of those tough times and his life growing up in Texas in the IN MY OWN WORDS special. 

IN MY OWN WORDS features well-known local sports personalities sharing memories and personal stories of their careers told in a conversation format. Each episode is a first person, personal journey in the subject's own words telling the story of their life in the public eye. Video, photos and newspaper headlines highlight the conversation.

Following are excerpts from the Banister episode:

On being named Rangers manager: "One of the coolest things for me is it says Texas across the front of the uniform. I'm all Texas and I've been all Texas. I'm boots and blue jeans, buttoned down shirt, western belt. As a kid I grew up idolizing Nolan Ryan and Earl Campbell. You're not a Texan unless you know those two names. . . . Bum Phillips. Tom Landry. John David Crow. I've been all Texas so much so that a lot of coaches in the locker room in Pittsburgh would razz me quite a bit. It's pretty special."

On how he intends to interact with players: "One of the biggest lessons I learned from (Pirates manager) Clint Hurdle is that when the day's over, it's over. You wash it off. You don't carry it into the next day. That will be one of the biggest messages I carry with me into the Rangers clubhouse. Clint let you know who he was right up front. He let you know 'I'm going to love you. You're going to disappoint me. I'm still going to put my arm around you. I'm going to tell you when you're wrong, but I'm going to give you accolades when you're right. If I feel like you need some inspiration I'm going to give it to you and I'm not going to let a day go by that I don't remind you that today's over, wash it off and go on.' Those are the lessons I learned from Clint I'll use with the Rangers."

On what he expects from himself in his first year: "I want to be humble, patient, competitive, a servant leader and learn what it means to be a Texas Ranger and try to model that every day. I want to immerse myself and my family within the community because I think it's important. If I'm going to represent an organization that wears the name on the front I want to do it with the importance and pride that I embody and model that for every player that puts on that uniform."

On meeting team leader Adrian Beltre: "He's one the best professional players I've ever seen. I had a conversation with him and he told me, 'Skip, I know where my window is. I want to win a championship. I want the men around me to hunger and desire to win a championship.' Just to hear the passion in his voice and where he's at with this whole process, I know his leadership in the locker room is going to be second to none. I believe the Texas Rangers were put in a spot last year. This game humbles you. They got humbled. They got punched in the mouth. What do you do when you taste blood on your own lip? Do you pack your bags and move on or do you come back out fighting stronger and have more desire to come out and compete?"

On how he deals with adversity: "We all have tough days. We've got to find ways to get on and over them. You also have to have patience and understand that there will be days when we're doing the best we can that we all need to be motivated. I needed to be motivated in a hospital room and to continue on some nights to just be able to see the next day. To be able to find some words of encouragement for grown men trying to compete and make a living and serving their brothers on the field. Yeah, I can find some way to find those words." 

On how battling and surviving bone cancer helped shape his life: "There were times in that hospital room when I was in isolation and I saw nothing but masks, goggles, gloves, gowns. Those were brutal times. In the middle of the night after everyone's gone and you're all alone you start thinking about your own mortality. Times do get tough. I learned to lose fear. I learned what real courage was about. I learned that you either get busy being tough and living or you don't."

IN MY OWN WORDS: JEFF BANISTER PROGRAM SCHEDULE

(All times listed are Central. Schedule Subject to Change.)

Sunday, Dec. 7, 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m. *

Tuesday, Dec. 9, 10:00 p.m. **

Thursday, Dec. 11, 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 13, 11:30 a.m. **

Wednesday, Dec. 17, 7:30 a.m.

Friday, Dec. 19, 4:30 p.m. +

Tuesday, Dec. 23, 10:30 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 26, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 30, 10:00 p.m. ++

Wednesday, Dec. 31, 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 31, 9:30 p.m. +

Saturday, Jan. 3, 10:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 15, 8:30 a.m.

Friday, Jan. 23, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 10:00 p.m.

 

* - Only in South Texas markets

** - Only in North Texas markets

+ - Only in San Antonio Spurs TV markets

++ - Only in Houston market