Former major league pitcher Brian Bannister recently informed Japanese baseball officials he has no plans to play in Japan or the United States, according to an AP story released Tuesday. The Japan Times is saying the 30-year-old will retire.
Bannister signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract with the Yomiuri Giants during the off season. According to the Japan Times, he left Japan last month in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami, citing fears over the nuclear crisis facing the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The Giants placed him on the restricted list, which forbids him from playing for any other team in Japan, or anywhere else, without first resolving matters with the Giants.
Before Bannister signed with the Giants in Japan, he pitched for the New York Mets (2006) and Kansas City Royals (2007-2010) in the major leagues, compiling a 37-50 record with a 5.08 ERA in five seasons.
During his time in Kansas City, he became known for his intimate knowledge and usage of sabermetrics (an in depth analysis of statistics as an objective standard by which to measure a player’s success, rather than subjective means) and his faith in Christ, which, as he pointed out in an interview with this writer in 2008, has more to do with who he is on the inside.
“To the world,” said Bannister at the time, who grew up in a Christian household, “we’re judged completely based on our numbers out on the field, but there’s a higher power up there looking and judging us by who we are and what we’re doing on the inside.”
He said his faith in Christ led him to pitch with a higher purpose and that the opportunities he got to speak about his faith off the field were more important to him than what people knew about him as a baseball player.
“We need to be on fire for the Lord, and not lukewarm,” Bannister said. “That’s one of the reasons I always challenge myself to be a leader in this clubhouse or to push myself, whether it’s speaking at a seminar or somewhere I’m not comfortable, because that’s the way I stay on fire for the Lord.”
Bannister’s future plans are unknown.