Eddie Bane was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 22, 1952 but grew up in southern California not too far from Disneyland. Bane was offered a scholarship by coach Bobby Winkles and before he knew it he was pitching for the Arizona State Sun Devils. In his three years at ASU (1971-1973) Bane became a pitching legend. 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. Bane pitched the only perfect game in Sun Devil baseball history on March 2, 1973 against Cal State Northridge and led the nation in strikeouts in 1972 and 1973 and still holds the ASU career strikeout mark. Bane was named first team All-American in 1973.
The Minnesota Twins selected Bane with their first pick, eleventh overall in the 1973 amateur draft and 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. Bane made his major league debut as a starter against the Kansas City Royals on July 4, 1973 at Met Stadium in front of 45,890 fans that couldn’t wait to see their first round pick pitch. Bane didn’t disappoint the Twins faithful going 7 innings allowing 3 hits, 3 walks and striking out 3 but manager Frank Quilici took Bane 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. Eddie 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. Bane spent all of 1974 and most of 1975 in AAA Tacoma before getting a September call up by the Twins where he went 3-1 in 4 starts and posted a nifty 2.86 ERA. Bane 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 and that was the last time that Eddie Bane pitched in a Twins uniform. Bane pitched in Tacoma in 1977 but became a free agent after that season and signed with the Chicago White Sox but never pitched for them in the majors and then in January of 1980 he was traded to the Kansas City Royals but never pitched in the majors again. Bane went on to spend some time in the Cubs minor league system later in 1980 and pitched in Mexico in 1981 and Alaska in 1982 but then his career as an active player was over.
After Bane’s playing career was over he became a pitching coach in the LA Dodgers minor league system in 1983 and then managed the Batavia Trojans in 1984-1985 in the Cleveland Indians system. Bane also scouted for the Indians from 1984-1987 before moving on to the Dodgers as a scout from 1988-1998. Bane then 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 where he drafted players like Jered Weaver in 2004, Nick Adenhart in 2004, Jordan Walden in 2006, Hank Conger in 2006, Mark Trumbo in 2004 and Mike Trout in 2009 and 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 Bane 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.
In 1994 Baseball America named Eddie Bane to their All-Time college all-star team and in 2008 Bane was selected to the Collegiate Baseball Hall of Fame.
I also wanted to share with you what Eddie Bane had to say about 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”.