There have been many names linked to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ managerial opening.  We’ve heard everything from John Gibbons to Bobby Valentine to Dale Sveum to Ken  Macha to Phil Garner.  Well, you get the point.

As I reported last week, it looked like the Pirates were holding out for the Texas Rangers to be eliminated from the World Series, so they could interview Clint Hurdle.  That indeed was the case and it looks like Hurdle is one of the final two candidates, as the Pirates won’t likely be conducting any more interviews for the job.

The other candidate?  Well, that would be Jeff Banister.

Jon Heyman of also confirmed that these are the likely last two guys standing.

I gave you Hurdle’s resume in my last article, which you are welcome to read as well.  Hurdle is definitely the more qualified manager and I would like to believe that he is the favorite, but who exactly is Banister?

Banister is no stranger to the Pirates organization, having spent 25 years within the club as a player and coach, in both the Pirates major and minor league system.

He currently served as the Pirates interim bench coach after Gary Varsho was fired during the season.

An interesting fact on Banister is that pitchers couldn’t get him out as a player. The guy batted a perfect 1.000 in his MLB career. That would be real impressive, if his career lasted more then one at bat.

In 1991, former Pirates manager Jim Leyland had to use Banister to pinch hit for injured catcher Don Slaught against the Atlanta Braves.  Banister reached on an infield single in his only MLB at bat and he was sent back to the minors following the game.

In 1993, Banister returned to the Pirates as a coach and field coordinator.  He’s been with the Pirates ever since.  Banister has served as a minor league manager on four different occasions, but not since 1998 when he managed the Carolina Mudcats.

I guess loyalty counts for something,  I’m not overly impressed with Banister’s resume.  I’d still rather have Hurdle.

However, the one thing Banister has going for him is that no one probably knows the Pirates young talent better then he does.

In the end, a decision should be made soon.  So, Bleacher Report followers, who would you hire if you were the Pirates? 

My vote still goes for Hurdle.

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