Twins History - The Instant Rise Of Eddie Bane
The left-handed Bane went 40-4 with a 1.64 ERA and is still regarded as one of the best collegiate pitchers of all time. He pitched the only perfect game in Sun Devil baseball history on March 2, 1973 against Cal State Northridge, led the nation in strikeouts in 1972 and 1973 and still holds the ASU career strikeout mark. He was named first team All-American in 1973, and in 1994 Baseball America named him to their All-Time college all-star team. In 2008 Bane was selected to the Collegiate Baseball Hall of Fame.
Originally posted at www.twinstrivia.com
With that track record, perhaps his rapid ascent, and the excitement that went with it, might have been anticipate. The Twins selected Bane with their first pick, eleventh overall in the 1973 amateur draft. A short time later Bane joined a very select group of only 20 players that were drafted and went on to play pro ball directly out of high school or college with no minor league experience. Amid a great deal of publicity and fan fare, Bane made his major league debut as a starter against the Kansas City Royals on July 4, 1973 at Met Stadium. Almost 46,000 fans attended for their first glimpse of the the first round pick pitch.
Bane didn’t disappoint that day. He threw 7 innings allowing 3 hits, 3 walks and striking out 3, but manager Frank Quilici took him out after 7 innings with the Twins trailing 1-0. The Twins took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the 8th inning but couldn’t hold on to the lead and ended up losing the game 5-4.
But if the throng thought that was just a first taste of a larger feast, they were likely disappointed. It's probable that overly anticipated first game was the highlight of Bane's professional career. He stayed with the Twins for the rest of the season going 0-5 with a 4.92 ERA in 23 games that included 6 starts. He spent all of 1974 and most of 1975 in AAA Tacoma before getting a September call up by the Twins. He found himself in Tacoma once again as the 1976 season opened but the Twins brought him back to Minnesota in late June and Bane started 15 games and put up a 4-7 record with a 5.11 ERA.
That was the last time that Eddie Bane pitched in a Twins uniform. He pitched in Tacoma in 1977. He became a free agent after that season and signed with the Chicago White Sox, but never pitched for them in the majors. In January of 1980 he was traded to the Kansas City Royals but didn't pitch in the majors. He spent time in the Cubs minor league system and pitched in Mexico in 1981 and Alaska in 1982, but his career as an active player was over.
Bane's career in the front office had some highlights too. He worked his was through various coaching and scouting roles with multiple organizations in the 80s and 90s. He joined the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as an assistant to the GM from 1999-2003 before joining the Los Angeles Angels as their Scouting Director from 2004 to 2010.
With the Angels, he drafted players like Mike Trumbo, Jered Weaver and Nick Adenhart in 2004, Jordan Walden and Hank Conger in 2006, and Mike Trout in 2009. Remarkably, in 4 of those 7 years the Angels didn’t even have a 1st round pick. Inexplicably, the Angels let Bane go after the 2010 season and he became a scout for the Detroit Tigers in 2011-2012. Later in 2012, Bane took the position of Assistant to Player Personnel with the Boston Red Sox where his son Jaymie ,who also attended ASU and pitched in the Angels minor league system, has been a scout since 2006.
Eddie Bane had lots of praise for former teammate Tony Oliva.
"By the way, one additional thought on some of the old time baseball guys from the 60's and 70's. I have asked a lot of former major league pitchers who the best hitter they ever faced was. Of the more then 20 pitchers I asked at least half of them said Tony Oliva. Tony never gets his due as far as the Hall of Fame goes, but those pitchers all remember that swing that I can still picture in my mind. Without those lousy knees that he had Tony O would certainly be a Hall of Fame player".
You can find the interview with Eddie Bane here. This interview is just one of the 39 interviews that we have done with former Twins players that you can find on our Interviews Archives page.
Bane had a meteoric rise with the Twins and a special place in Twins history at a time when the organization was going through a rough phase. His career didn't have the impact that observers hoped, but that adds to, not subtracts, from his unique spot in Twins history.