Jeff Banister was the son of a high school football coach but his mother, Verda, played an equally huge role in his life as a young athlete. Early on, his dad’s coaching schedule often prevented him from attending all of the practices and games when Banister was getting started.
“She was the one that made sure I got to every Little League game, every practice,” the Texas Rangers manager said.
She was even the president of Little League for a time. “When coaches were late she would step in.”
And when Banister wanted to practice in the backyard, she even put on a mitt, even though she wasn’t a particularly strong athlete.
“She wasn’t. She was a drum major, she twirled,” he said.
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But she wasn’t soft. She taught junior high, so she could be just as tough as dad. She never missed a game, even through Banister’s days playing for the University of Houston.
“The reason I turned other schools down to go to the University of Houston is because I wanted her to see every home game, to keep a book, let her critique me when things weren’t great and listen to whatever angst I had,” he said.