Jeff Banister is all smiles after winning the AL Manager of the Year Award in his first season.
It was the year of the rookie managers in the American League. Rangers first-year manager Jeff Banister won the AL Manager of the Year Award over other first-time major league managers A. J. Hinch of Houston and Paul Molitor of Minnesota.
Banister had never managed above Double-A before being given the job to manage the Rangers after their last-place finish last season.
He led them to a twenty-one game turnaround, and guided the Rangers on an improbably turnaround to catch the Astros after being nine games behind at the end of July. Texas won the West by one game over Houston.
In fact, the winner of the Manager of the Year Award from both teams were from the two teams that had the biggest increase in wins in each league. Joe Maddon won in the National League after leading the Cubs to a twenty-four game difference from 2014.
Congratulations to Jeff Banister on a well-deserved win.
Here is a reposting of article I wrote about him on October 17, 2014, the day after he was hired.
THE NEW GUY.
We interrupt this Giants celebration to bring you some important news.
In case you were on Apollo One and you just came back a few minutes ago, the Rangers new manager is Jeff Banister.
You may know him by the name Jon Daniels knows him by: Clint Hurdle 2.0.
Clint Hurdle is the one that got away. Well, he is one of many that got away if you include players. But Clint was the beloved Rangers hitting coach in 2010 when the Rangers did that year what the Royals did this year by shocking everyone and making it to the World Series after a long history posing as a doormat.
Nobody knows what would have happened had they have kept Hurdle, or made him the manager. But when you can’t get the guy, you get the guy who has sat next to the guy for four years.
And that guy is Jeff Banister.
Banister is a survivor. He survived cancer when he was a teenager that required seven surgeries. He survived a diagnosis that said he had to lose a leg. He survived a horrible crash at home plate that left him paralyzed for ten days. And he survived a career as a minor leaguer to get one at bat in 1991. He got a hit, then promptly retired with a lifetime batting average of 1.000.
Those survival instincts are going to come in very handy when he sees the team he has in Spring Training. Because now he has to survive a Rangers roster that was the worst in the American League in 2014 because it had to survive injuries and deforestation.
Poor guy. Finally gets his chance and this is the chance he gets.
One of the first things Jon Daniels has asked him to do is connect with Tim Bogar, the guy whose job Banister took, and spend some time with him to see if he is interested in staying.
Nice move, Mr People Skills. Make the new guy talk the old guy off the ledge.
So now the Rangers have their third manager in the past six weeks. All signs are, he is a good one. A very good one.
I have to applaud Daniels for not going the safe route and simply hiring Tim Bogar. He wanted to find the best guy for the job.
During his interview, Banister cleared the biggest hurdle imaginable. He was the closest one of all of them to Clint Hurdle.