*Italian Heritage Doubtful/Unlikely
Card: 1950 Bowman #224
"When it [his arm] went bad in the middle of the season, it didn't hurt. It just didn't have any life to it. I didn't have the good fastball any more. And I was throwing in the dirt, which was highly unusual. Used to be, when I'd get wild, I'd be high. But I ruined my record in '50 when I lost two games in two days. I started one of them and lost it, and they put me in relief the next day and I lost it.
And then I lost one other one, and then they sent me back to Montreal, which really didn't do me any good, because I couldn't throw there either. But I finished the season at Montreal, and the next spring when I went to camp it was so sore I couldn't throw at all. Course in those days, they didn't have athletic doctors. They assumed it was some kind of a tendonitis type thing. And I never came back. To this day I can't throw a rock. Still hurts in the same place." - Jack Banta, talking about the end of his big league career in Peter Golenbock's Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers
Jackie Kay Banta (b. June 24, 1925 in Hutchinson, KS – d. September 17, 2006 in Hutchinson, KS) was an American right-handed sidearmer who had cups of coffee with the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1947 and 1948. Highly touted and sporting a blazing fastball, he went 10-6 for the club in 1949.
Though Jack played in parts of four seasons in the majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers, but it was his performance on the final day of the 1949 season, in Philadelphia, that gained Banta his everlasting place in Brooklyn Dodgers history. Because St. Louis was in process of winning their game in Chicago, a Dodgers’ loss would necessitate a three-game playoff with the Cardinals for the National League pennant.
Brooklyn took an early 5–0 lead, but the Phillies rallied to tie the score at 7–7 after six innings. Banta, who had entered the game with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, shut down the Phillies the rest of the way, giving up only two hits and a walk. After the Dodgers took a 9-7 lead in the top of the tenth, Banta retired the Phillies in the bottom of the inning to seal the victory and give Brooklyn the NL flag. He made three appearances in relief in that year's World Series.
Hampered by chronic arm problems, he never returned to the majors after the 1950 season. After his playing career ended, Jack spent time as a minor league manager before returning to his hometown and working for a grocery store for 33 years. In 2004 Banta was inducted into the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame. He died in 2006 at age 81.
"Quality person," former teammate Carl Erskine told The Hutchinson News from his home in Anderson, Indiana. "Jack (Banta) was quiet, but he was very intense. He came at his job with a real passion." - AP Wire (Associated Press, 09/19/2006)
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