A father and son pitching duo that knows the 500 HR club


(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

It’s one thing to be a pitcher who can claim to surrender home runs to multiple members of the 500 Home Run club.

It’s quite another to have your dad be able to claim the same accomplishment.

“I distinctly remember giving up my home runs to A-Rod, [Jim] Thome and [Manny] Ramirez. [Pujols] was another guy who got me that was part of the 500 HR club,” explains Brian Bannister, a seventh round pick in the 2003 amateur draft who pitched over 667 innings in the major leagues. He is also the son of pitcher Floyd Bannister. “My Dad’s were Mike Schmidt, Mark McGwire, Eddie Murray and Reggie Jackson. He gave up one to Schmidt in his first season in 1977. He didn’t remember giving it up.”

Bannister, the younger, surrendered 86 home runs to 65 batters in 18 ballparks, but recalls one of the more memorable moon shots during the 2007 season . “It was my first start at Fenway, I remember Manny Ramirez hitting one literally over the center field section of the Green monster. It wasn’t your typical ‘pull it down the line, short flyball over the Monster at Fenway.’ This was a legitimate shot. He got all of it. I was just, ‘wow.’”

That would be the only home run Bannister would give up to Ramirez, but Alex Rodriguez tagged Bannister for three, including A-Rod’s 50th and 51st home run of the 2007 season.

“Alex [Rodriguez] has the highest OPS against me of any hitter I have faced in my career,” said Bannister. “I kind of have a love hate relationship with him.”

OPS stands for On-base Plus Slugging, simply the sum of a player’s on-base percentage and their slugging percentage. The higher it is the better it is for a hitter. For hitters with at least 10 plate appearances against Bannister, Rodriguez does lead the field with a .556 batting average,  .692 on-base percentage and 1.556 slugging percentage for a whopping 2.248 OPS. Carlos Quentin is second with a 1.267 OPS in 16 plate appearances.

“My two worst hitters were A-Rod and Thome,” explains Bannister. “Most guys like a fastball on the inner half of the plate, that’s prob the easiest pitch for a good hitter to hit out of the ballpark. The one trait of the special hitters – a guy like Pujols or A-Rod and Manny — they sit on offspeed away. They figure because of their rep and power most pitchers are going to be scared and not throw a fastball by them, so they actually sit on that weak offspeed stuff away hoping you would try and trick them and they just feast on it.”

“It’s almost backwards thinking. They set you up. They guess. They eliminate a pitch. They are just different than others hitters and have the capability physically to just drive the ball better than everyone else.”

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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