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Posted 21 May 2001   For week ended May 18, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 18May01

By Rosemary Pollock

RM Happy to Play for Calgary Cannons

CALGARY, ALBERTA -- Sixth-round draft pick, Brian Banks, knew that coming out of high school to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posed risks to his baseball career. A mission call could have him going where the only bats he would see would have wings and any ball he he saw would be meant for kicking and not throwing.

"Scouts were telling me, 'for your career, it's probably best if you don't go," said the newly acquired multi-talented Cannon outfielder, first baseman and catcher. "It's not a mandatory thing, you don't have to do it. But it was something I always thought I would do. It was a tough decision, but when I made it I think it was the right thing for me. I grew up, became a man, got away from home."

Banks was sent to Seattle from 1991 to 1992, and was able to get in the odd session in a batting cage. "I think I was fortunate to be in the States," smiled Banks. "It probably was a blessing. It allowed me to at least be able to maintain my baseball skills a little bit."

Banks returned from his mission to BYU and in his senior year, Milwaukee made Banks a second-round pick. "It could've cost me a little bit, but I don't think it did. It seemed like I was able to come back and pick up where I left off, " Banks said. "I do know players who went away for those two years and seemed to have lost their skills," he added.

Banks spent seven years with the Brewers in the big league from 1996 to 1999. "Ironic, isn't it?" Banks laughed. "I grow up not drinking beer, and I end up playing for the guys who make it." But the Brewers cleaned house and by 2000, he and his wife traveled around Japan while Banks played for the Fukuoka Daei Hawks. He then signed with his favorite boyhood club, the Cubs and would have stayed if he hadn't exercised a contractual out and joined Calgary.

"I would've loved to play for them in Wrigley Field," Banks admitted, but is happy to be one more veteran on an experienced club. "We've got a lot of professional hitters," he added. "I think this is going to be fun for me."


New Cannon on mission
Calgary Alberta Canada Sun 12May01 S2
By Tom Brennan: Calgary Sun


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