Few people understand the significance of a player’s first major league hit deeper than Banister. He singled in his first big league plate appearance for the Pirates on July 23, 1991 but never got another chance. After the ‘91 season he only played eight more minor league games before transitioning into coaching.
So it meant a lot to Banister to present Jared Hoying with his first major league hit, the ball encased a clear display box in the clubhouse after Saturday’s game.
It’s a special moment for him, his family and everybody ... it’s not an individual event ... they carry a whole trailer full of people with them to the big leagues.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister
“It’s a special moment for him, his family and everybody … it’s not an individual event,” Banister said. “This is mom, dad, family, grandparents, high school coaches, college coaches, friends. They carry a whole trailer full of people with them to the big leagues. As a guy who never got a second at-bat I understand the significance of it.”
Indeed, Hoying, who spent six seasons in the minors, had his wife, parents and other friends and family in the stands for Saturday’s game. They weren’t able to make his first start on May 23. He had started 0 for 5 before his fourth-inning single Saturday.
“I was glad to get the monkey off the back, so to speak,” Hoying said. “They missed the first one because it happened so quick but they’ve been here ever since. It makes it that much more special that they were here.”
The same was done for Banister after his. Manager Jim Leyland, Banister recalled, glossed over a 5 for 5 night by John Wehner, four RBIs by Gary Redus and a seven-inning win by Doug Drabek against the Braves to say during a postgame interview that the greatest moment of the game was Banister had become a major leaguer.
“Everything entailed to actually stay on that path and finally get here and that one moment, it really is [significant],” he said. “I don’t think any one player ever forgets their first hit, their first strikeouts, or their first play. It’s one that should not go without acknowledgment. As the manager of this team, I hope it’s important to them, it’s important to me.”