Back in 2014 when the Texas Rangers hired an unknown commodity in Jeff Banister to take over for the club's all-time wins leader as a manager and the skipper who took them to back-to-back World Series, it sent some shockwaves through Rangers fandom.
First off, Banister was a guy no one had really heard of. Second, he was chosen over interim manager Tim Bogar, who led the Rangers to a successful final month of their awful season and seemed to have a good grasp of the team.
It hasn't taken long to see Jon Daniels & Co. made the right call, as Banister has galvanized the Rangers and their fans after a surprising run to the AL West crown last year and a couple of well-publicized dust-ups with opposing managers in his first two seasons that lend to the feeling that he has his team's back.
On Friday, he'll look across the field at Globe Life Park and see the organization, and the guys, that helped mold him into what he is now.
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That's because the Pittsburgh Pirates are coming to town, the same Pirates that Banister spent 29 years with prior to taking the Rangers' job. He was the bench coach for Clint Hurdle, who spent the 2010 season as the Rangers' hitting coach, and before that he was a longtime minor-league player and coach in the organization. He had one big-league at-bat — a pinch-hit single.
"I'm sure there will be some real mixed emotions for me," Banister told The Dallas Morning News. "I'll probably be more emotional about it than anybody in their dugout. That organization raised me up and helped me become a man. But I'm a Texas Ranger. I had to earn the right be a Texas Ranger. I don't take that for granted."
It makes you want to run through a wall for the man, doesn't it? He has that effect on people.