Jeff Banister: Another Rediscovered UH Cougar

Jeff Banister Former UH Cougar Player Current Texas Rangers Manager CAP EVALUATION: Right Color/Wrong Lettering

Former UH Cougar Player
Current Texas Rangers Manager
Right Color/Wrong Lettering

Writer Evan Drelich did himself proud yesterday with his interview piece with Texas Rangers Manager Jeff Banister, a former UH Cougar baseballer from back in the Southwest Conference days – and a guy whose living connection with the university includes the memory that UH was the place that opened doors for him into the later professional game he still lives; it was the close-to-home campus that allowed Jeff’s parents to come up from nearby Lamarque and watch their son playing college ball; it was the place where he found his young adult sense of belonging in the campus culture; and it was, and it remains, the sacred ground where he met Karen, the love of his life and future wife.

Drelich makes referential acknowledgement in the interview to the fact that Banister depicts his allegiance with a UH “helmet on the desk” as the symbol of all the those items that we described above as meaningful to the Texas Rangers manager about the placement of UH in his life.

Like every Cougar alumnus I’ve spoken to this fall, Jeff Banister’s attention and excitement by the accomplishments in football under first year coach Tom Herman is high and building. Banister implies that previous commitments will keep him from traveling to see UH play Florida State in the New Year’s Eve late morning Atlanta Peach Bowl, but that he definitely will be watching the “Coogs” on TV that special day.

And another life irony flows through me as I consider what this rediscovery of Jeff Banister to my lost memory of his UH background means to me – and it goes down simply as something this: Just when I thought that there was no way in the world for me to find anything I might like about the 2015 Texas Rangers as an avid Houston Astros fan, along comes this memory-jogging article by Drelich of the Chronicle about their Cougar-clawed leader.

This confirmation of Jeff Banister’s UH Cougar bloodline will not alter any part of my soul commitment as a Houston Astros fan to not be a fan also of the Texas Rangers on any level, but it may help the boys from Arlington to draw a mercy card from me that wasn’t present previously once the Astros totally destroy them in the AL WEST in 2016.

In fact, limited future Rangers mercy is about all I have new to offer as a result of this yesterday-recovered memory of Jeff Banister as a red-blooded member of Cougar Nation.

“Life’s roads are filled with many turns, twists, and dangerous curves. – That’s why it’s so hard to go straight all the time.” ~ Yogi Berra? Probably.

Eat ‘Em Up, Astros!







2 Responses to “Jeff Banister: Another Rediscovered UH Cougar”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Sometime in the early 1990s, Jeff Banister came to Denver as a member of the Buffalo Bisons to play the Denver Zephyrs. The Rocky Mountain News ran a story about Banister’s health problems and mentioned that he had played baseball at the University of Houston.

    I took the newspaper article to the old Mile High Stadium and hoped to have him autograph it during batting practice. He was walking at some distance away, so I called out, “Hail Cougars!”

    He came over and we talked for a while and then he signed the article. I followed his career at Pittsburgh as a coach and was happy when he was hired to manage the Texas Rangers. I’m an Astro fan, but had the Rangers advanced to the World Series, I would have pulled for them–just because of him.

  2. Shirley Virdon Says:

    You were right about Jeff Banister’s wife. She is a lovely young woman and a wonderful Baseball Wife! We were very pleased when Jeff became the Rangers Manager! Glad he is finally getting some national recognition.
    Thanks for mentioning the U of Houston Connection!

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