BRADENTON, Fla. -- Few men have invested more of their baseball lives with the Pirates than Jeff Banister, and now he's back for more.
The team announced Sunday the hiring of Banister as one of Neal Huntington's special assistants, this after spending the past four seasons as manager of the Rangers. The 54-year-old went 325-313 in Arlington, including back-to-back American League West Division titles in his first two seasons, before being fired in September.
Before that, he was with the Pirates' organization for 29 seasons, most recently as Clint Hurdle's bench coach, but also as a player -- he famously singled in his only big-league at-bat off the Braves' Dan Petry in 1991 at Three Rivers Stadium -- a manager and roving instructor through the minors.
The Pirates drafted Banister in the 25th round of the 1986 amateur draft as a catcher from the University of Houston
“Jeff Banister returns to the Pirates as a valuable resource, instructor and advisor for our front office, major-league team and player development system,” Huntington said in a statement. “Jeff brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and a passion for the Pirates back to the organization. We are thrilled to add a quality person and baseball man to help an organization that he loves get better.”