Feb 27, 2016

The First Brooklyn Cyclone Player To Make the Mets Big League Club: Brain Bannister (2006)

Brian Patrick Bannister was born on February 28, 1981 in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is the son of former big leaguer Floyd Bannister, who pitched in the majors for 15 seasons, with the Houston Astros (1977-1978) Seattle Mariners (1979-1982), Chicago White Sox (1983-1987) & Kansas City Royals (1988-1989) going 134-143 lifetime with a 4.06 ERA. 

 Floyd had double figures in victories for seven straight seasons, including two 16 win seasons with the White Sox in the eighties. In 1982 while pitching for the Mariners, Bannister led the AL in strike outs (209) going 12-13 pitching 247 innings (8th in the AL) posting a 3.43 ERA (8th in the AL).

Bannister was a good strikeout pitcher, having the best strike out per nine inning ratio in 1983 & 1985. He was in the league's top ten in strike outs five times, finishing his career with 1723 (108th all time). He was also in the top ten in ERA three times. In his career he also allowed 291 strike outs (53rd most all time). 

Brian Bannister attended the University of Southern California and starred as both a starting pitcher as well as a closer there. The six foot two right hander, was drafted by the New York Mets in the seventh round of the 2003 draft. In 2003 he pitched for the A ball Brooklyn Cyclones, going 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in 12 games. 

 In 2006 when he made the Mets pitching staff, he became the first Cyclones player to make it to the big league team. He was honored at Brooklyn's Keyspan Park in September 2006, having his number retired by the Cyclones on Brian Bannister bobble head night. In 2004 he went from A ball St. Lucie to AA Binghamton & was highly touted at this point in his career. In 2005 he was 9-4 at AA Binghamton getting promoted to AAA Norfolk. There he was 4-1 witha 3.18 ERA in eight games.

In 2006 he had a good spring training & made it to the Mets staff as a fifth starter. Bannister debuted at Shea Stadium in the Mets second game of the season, pitching six innings against the Washington Nationals, allowing three runs getting no decision.

In his second career start, at Washington he earned his first career win, allowing just one run in seven innings. On April 16th he got his second win, it came against the Milwaukee Brewers where he allowed just one run in five innings. After five starts he pulled a hamstring while running the bases in San Francisco & went on the DL with a 2-0 record. 

He missed four months, returning back in late August, in his first start he took a loss to the Phillies allowing four runs in six innings of work. He was sent right back to AAA Norfolk after the game, but returned to make two relief appearances in September.

On the season he would go 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA, striking out 19 batters in 38 innings while walking 22. Bannister was a good hitter as well going 4-12 with three doubles and two RBIs, good enough for a .333 average. 

Over the winter the Mets traded him to the Kansas City Royals in order to boost up their bullpen, as they acquired Ambiorix Burgess. In Kansas City, Bannister was put right into the rotation, and had a great start, winning the Pitcher of the Month Award in June. He went on to make the Topps All Star Rookie team, leading the staff in wins with 12 (12-9). He posted a 3.67 ERA pitching 216 innings making 34 starts. 

He struggled the next season on a 4th place Royals club, losing 16 games (second most losses in the league) while allowing 29 HRs, posting a 5.76 ERA. He went an identical 7-12 the next two seasons, and in 2010 his ERA climbed to a whopping 6.34. In 2011 he signed to pitch in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants, but left before the season started due to concerns with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. 

Retirement: Bannister has now retired from the game in both countries. He is also a professional photographer and had his work published in the NY Times, NY Daily News as well as other publications. 

Bannister is also the founder of Loft 19 Photography Studios in Phoenix, Arizona.

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