Former Pirates coach Jeff Banister fired by Texas Rangers as manager
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers fired manager Jeff Banister on Friday, more than a week before the end of what will be the team’s first consecutive losing seasons in 10 years.
Banister was a longtime member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, beginning when the team drafted him in 1986 and continuing in a variety of coaching and instruction roles following his retirement from playing in 1993. He was the team’s full-time bench coach from 2011, when Clint Hurdle was hired, until 2014, when he left to become the Rangers’ manager.
Bench coach Don Wakamatsu will serve as the Rangers’ interim manager for the remainder of the season, starting with Friday night’s game against Seattle that opens the final home series of a disappointing year.
Banister, hired after the 2014 season, had a 325-313 record in his first managerial job. The Rangers won the AL West title in each of his first two seasons (2015-16), then lost to Toronto in the AL Division Series both times. He was named American League Manager of the Year in 2015, after his first season.
The Rangers had a 64-88 record going into Friday night’s game, after a 78-84 mark last season. They were 88-74 in Banister’s managerial debut in 2015, and matched a team record with an American League-high 95 wins in 2016.
General manager Jon Daniels said he informed the 54-year-old Banister of the decision on Thursday, a day off for the team. Banister was under contract through next season.
“This was not an easy decision and comes after a long period of evaluation. However, we feel that a change in the leadership of our Major League club is necessary as we move forward,” Daniels said. “Once this conclusion was reached, I felt it was appropriate to make the move now.”