Jeff Banister hired as Texas Rangers manager

Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach becomes 18th full-time manager in club history

Arlington, Texas - The Texas Rangers announced this evening that the club has hired Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister as the club's new manager.

Banister, who received a multi-year contract, becomes the 18th full-time manager in club history.

Banister will be introduced at a press conference on Friday morning at Globe Life Park in Arlington at 11:00 a.m. CT. See the details below.

"On behalf of the entire organization, I want to welcome Jeff Banister and his family to the Texas Rangers," said Rangers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Jon Daniels. "We believe that Jeff is the right individual to lead our club going forward. His energy, knowledge, integrity, and passion for the game stood out during a very intensive and thorough interview process. We're excited to get started on the task at hand."

The 50-year-old Banister has spent the last 29 seasons as a player, minor league manager, and major league coach in the Pittsburgh organization since being selected by the Pirates in the 25th round of the June 1986 amateur draft. He has served as manager Clint Hurdle's bench coach the last four seasons after originally assuming that position on an interim basis on August 8, 2010. The Pirates have gone to the National League playoffs as a Wild Card entry in each of the last two years after a string of 20 consecutive losing seasons.

"I want to thank the Texas Rangers for giving me this opportunity," commented Banister. "I am elated to have the chance to make an impact on the organization, and I look forward to getting started on that task.

"I also want to express my gratitude to the Pittsburgh Pirates for the last 29 years. My experiences in that organization have prepared me well for this new opportunity, and I thank all of the individuals who have poured into my life along the way." 

Pittsburgh was 94-68 in 2013 and 88-74 in 2014, finishing second in the N.L. Central Division in both seasons. In 2013, the Pirates defeated Cincinnati in the N.L. Wild Card game before losing to St. Louis in five games in the NLDS. This season, the club was defeated by San Francisco in the N.L. Wild Card game.

"The entire Pirates organization is extremely proud of Jeff and happy for him and his family," said Hurdle. "We believe it will be an excellent fit for him and the Texas Rangers. 

"He has been an instrumental reason for the success the Pirates organization has had over the course of his tenure with the ballclub. Jeff has put forth as much sweat-equity and hard work into the game of baseball as any man I have had the privilege of working with."

Banister's last managerial stint came with the Arizona Fall League's Scottsdale Scorpions in 2009. He was originally scheduled to manage at Scottsdale again this fall but withdrew once he became involved in the Rangers' interview process.  

Pittsburgh's minor league field coordinator from 2003-10, Banister was previously on the major league staff as field coordinator under managers Gene Lamont and Lloyd McClendon from 1999-2002. He managed in the Pirates' minor league system from 1994-98 with a 299-330 record while winning the 1995 South Atlantic League championship at Augusta. Banister was also a manager in the Hawaiian Winter League in 1995 and 1996.

Banister's amateur and professional playing career was a testament to his courage and determination. The right-handed hitting catcher and first baseman compiled a .247 batting average in 515 games in Pittsburgh's minor league organization from 1986-1993. He appeared in just one major league game, recording a pinch single off Atlanta's Dan Petry on July 23, 1991. Banister missed all of the following season due to right elbow surgery and concluded his playing career as a player-coach at Carolina (AA) in 1993.

The Houston-area resident has lifelong Texas ties, as he attended high school in LaMarque and played baseball at Baytown Junior College and the University of Houston. Research indicates he is the first manager in club history to have gone to high school or college in Texas. Banister had seven operations on his left ankle and leg for bone cancer and osteomyelitis while in high school in 1980 and was temporarily paralyzed from the neck down in a home plate collision while playing at Baytown J.C. in 1983.

Banister, his wife Karen, daughter Alexandra (19) and son Jacob (12) currently reside in League City, Texas.