The hiring of Tony Beasley as Texas Rangers third-base coach took upward of a month, but it was a hire that was more than a decade in the making.
Manager Jeff Banister has known Beasley that long, since he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization in 1992 and, like Banister, hung around for a while.
Banister and Beasley played together. Banister later managed Beasley, managed the first team Beasley served with as a coach, and then they worked together on a Pirates coaching staff.
The reunion was made official Tuesday, when Beasley was lured away from the Washington Nationals to replace Gary Pettis in the all-important third-base coaching box.
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Of all the hires made this off-season, Banister believes this was the most important.
“The third-base coach has a direct impact on the game every night,” Banister said. “Tony’s name surfaced before I even called him and before we even asked permission to talk to Tony. There were other candidates also, but we had an opportunity to interview Tony late in the process to make sure everything I felt about Tony was right.”
The Rangers interviewed three others — Pat Listach, Tim Leiper and Doug Mansolino — but Beasley might have been the guy all along.
Banister’s and Beasley’s children, for instance, used to play with each other as their dads coached in Zebulon, N.C. They worked together on the same big league staff, with Pittsburgh in 2010. They lived together during spring training and instructional leagues.
Beasley, 47, fit Banister’s requirements perfectly as someone experienced coaching third base in the majors — he has four seasons of experience — and as someone who knows Banister well enough to know what he might be thinking as the game develops.
“We have a pretty extensive relationship,” Banister said. “I think Tony is the right fit for us and for me. He can do it all. He’s going to be a great asset to our team.”
Beasley is the fourth newcomer to the coaching staff, joining bench coach Steve Buechele, first-base coach Hector Ortiz and field coordinator Jayce Tingler.