Banister, a longtime Texas resident, joins the Rangers after spending four seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ bench coach under Clint Hurdle, the Rangers’ hitting coach in 2010 and someone whom members of the Rangers’ front office came to admire during their time together in Colorado.
Banister had one big league at-bat, a pinch-hit infield single in 1991, and had spent all 29 years of his career in the Pittsburgh organization until the Rangers plucked him from a group of eight candidates.
“The entire Pirates organization is extremely proud of Jeff and happy for him and his family. We believe it will be an excellent fit for him and the Texas Rangers," Hurdle said. "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.”
“On behalf of the Pirates organization, we want thank Jeff for his long-standing impact and dedication," Pirates' GM Neal Huntington said. "His leadership, character, work ethic, knowledge of the game, energy and passion made us better every day he was a Pirate. We wish Jeff and his family nothing but success with the Texas Rangers.”
Banister, who lives in League City, takes over a team that was ravaged by injuries and a lack of depth, but the Rangers expect to be a contender again in 2015 after failing to win 90 games for the first time since an 87-win season in 2009.