Monday, August 09, 2010

Coffee Cup Recap '91

One intriguing angle on the Pirates' recent replacement of two coaches is the baseball career of the new bench coach, Jeff Banister. He's a Pirates organization guy, but you'd be forgiven for having forgotten his playing days: a catcher, Banister was called up to the Pirates for all of 5 days in 1991, briefly replacing an injured Don Slaught. In his only major-league action, Banister pinch-hit for Doug Drabek against the Braves and hit an infield single. Thereafter Banister never returned to the bigs.

But here he is on the field again, or rather the bench, albeit only in the capacity of periodically yelling at Ronny Cedeno, or whatever the Pirates' bench coach does. Welcome back, Jeff Banister!

If you're tempted to think of Banister's experience as the prototypical "cup of coffee" in the bigs, well, there are some even more classic cases, as delineated in the oddly phrased Wikipedia page for Notable Baseball Cups of Coffee. Moonlight Graham, the Field of Dreams character, turns out to have actually existed, for one thing. For my money, the most unlikely baseball cup of coffee is Robin Yount's brother Larry -- you really can't make this up -- who appeared as a relief pitcher for one game for the 1971 Astros, hurt his arm while warming up, never threw a pitch, and never got back to the majors.

I don't know if they intend to keep Banister in this role long-term or if he's just a fill-in, but I think it would be nice if they made July 23 some kind of "Jeff Banister day" at the park next year to salute his one day as a player. Can they find video of his infield single for the jumbotron? They could play that and set off a few fireworks before the game. Or maybe they could do a bobblehead. Who doesn't want a bobblehead of the Pittsburgh Pirates' bench coach?


Post a Comment

<< Home