For baseball’s one-hit wonders, the magic can last a lifetime

From Kevin Baxter at the Los Angeles Times on March 12, 2013:

Jeff Banister has worn a baseball uniform to work for more than a quarter-century, first as a minor league player and instructor and for the last four seasons in the big leagues as a bench coach with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

But if you blinked at the wrong time, you missed his entire major league playing career: one at-bat 22 summers ago on a warm, cloudy evening in Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium.

It ended with an infield single, the baseball now sitting on a shelf in his 10-year-old son’s bedroom.

“The events in my life allowed me to just really, truly kind of hold on to that one at-bat, that one game, and just how precious they really are. And how fragile professional sports and athletes really are,” Banister says. “It can be there one day and gone the next. I didn’t dwell on it. I don’t dwell on it.”

This month, hundreds of players — many wearing numbers more commonly associated with offensive linemen than outfielders — have gathered in spring-training camps hoping to earn their chance, however brief, to play in the big leagues.

In baseball parlance, such cameos are known as a “cup of coffee” because they generally last no longer than it takes a person to down a mug of joe.

Read the full article here:,0,2342217,full.story

Related link: Read SABR biographies of “Cup of Coffee” one-game players here

Originally published: March 12, 2013. Last Updated: March 12, 2013.