Sunday, July 31, 2011

Scott Bankhead

Former 1st round pick of the Kansas City Royals, Scott Bankhead turns 48 today. He is perhaps best known as a member of the 1984 United States Olympic baseball team with the likes of Barry Larkin, Mark McGwire, Will Clark and Cory Snyder. The team's popularity was increased in 1985 when Topps released a subset of Team USA players in their Traded edition.

Bankhead was highly-touted and so the Royals started him off in AA after he completed his pitching career at the University of North Carolina. It didn't take long for Bankhead to break into the Majors, making his debut in just his 2nd pro season in 1986. He earned a win in his first game after pitching 4 innings (inning #14-17) in relief against the Chicago White Sox, allowing no runs and striking out 5.

His first season wasn't so overwhelming (4.61 8-9 whip of 1.31) but he was still considered to be a top prospect as was dealt to Seattle as part of a deal that brought Danny Tartabull to Kansas City. Bankhead struggled again in 1987 but in 1988-1989, he finally put it all together and posted two very good season, winning a combined 21 games in 54 starts, including 3 shutouts. He pitched 210 innings in 1989 with very good all-round numbers and it was thought that he had finally arrived.

This was, however, the last season that Bankhead would be a regular starter as injuries began to take their toll and in 1992, after signing with the Reds as a free agent, he re-invented himself an effective long reliever, winning 10 games with an ERA under 3. He parlayed this season into a minor windfall as he broke the $1 million in salary with the Red Sox in 1993 and 1994 after signing a two-year contract in December of 1992.

Bankhead was signed by the A's in August of 1995 but played only in the minor league system at AAA Edmonton. In 1996, he tried to latch on with the Houston Astros in spring training but on March 25, he was released.

Since his retirement, Bankhead has been running the North Carolina Baseball Academy in Greensboro.

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