Who is she? Sam Banister, a former multi-position star infielder for the Arizona Wildcats who played in Tucson from 2006-2009.
What is she known for? Banister was primarily the starting first baseman for the Wildcats during their back-to-back championship-winning seasons in 2006 and 2007. The program reached the Women’s College World Series in all four of her seasons at UA, and she started around the infield all four years.
Here’s something interesting… Before every one of her college games, Sam ate a hot dog. The frankfurter’s had to be made with certain specifications, too – not only was there to be ketchup, but there had to be a lot of it. Why? “There’s nothing worse than finishing a hot dog and not having enough ketchup,” she says.
Quotable quote [on playing for Mike Candrea]: “It was one of the single best experiences of my entire life. I learned so much about being not just a better teammate, but a better person and I feel like a better mom just from the life lessons that he taught us and he instilled in us and I constantly am quoting him when I’m teaching my lessons… you just knew when you looked at him that he believed in you and thought you were the greatest softball player ever. And if there was anybody in that moment, he wanted it to be you, and he could make anybody feel that way. That is something special, to be able to possess that quality.”
What’s she up to now? After testing the 9-5 waters for a while following her playing career, Sam started giving private lessons on the side and before long, it became her full-time job. She gives around sixty lessons a week and recently began coaching her first travel ball team. She calls her business 33Hitting, after her college jersey number.