By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Joe Banasik lives in Spring, Texas and is the 49 year old head of the Houston Hardball League, the MSBL affiliate located in the land of the current MLB American League favorite Astros. The league consists of roughly 30 teams split into five divisions playing in spring and fall sessions. He started his MSBL career back in 1992 at the young age of 24 and is a member of the MSBL National Hall of Fame, inducted in 2005. “I loved the game and wanted to keep playing,” said Banasik. “Softball was just not cutting it for me. I loved baseball.” For Joe’s long-standing passion and dedication to the game, MSBL Founder and President Steve Sigler has inducted Joe into the 2017 class of the MSBL Honor Roll.
A web developer and entrepreneur, Joe is married to Misty, who is a speech and language pathologist for a local school district. He and Misty have a daughter enrolled at Texas A&M, one son in high school and another son in elementary school.
“I only played street ball growing up because we did not have a local youth league nearby. I didn’t play on my first organized team until High School and then played one year as a walk-on at a small college in Louisiana. I am a natural born baseball enthusiast and professional amateur athlete.”
Banasik grew up as a big Astros fan in the 70’s with the rainbow jerseys and spent much time at the Houston Astrodome watching them play. “I also enjoy reading historical baseball data and visiting old ball parks from the past, both in person and in old photographs,” explained Joe.
“One of the greatest moments in my baseball life was participating with a group of men from our league who traveled and played against the French National Team in Paris in 2002. It was an amazing experience.”
Joe continues to play and manage the Houston Marauders in the 30+ division of his league. It must be a challenge to play, manage and also run the league. “The camaraderie and friendships over the years that we have for one another makes it all worthwhile,” explained Banasik. “We also get to play some baseball along the way, too!”
Joe is also a fairly regular participant at the MSBL World Series held every year in Arizona in October and November. “I try and pick up with a team every other year on average. I work so much operating the league that when I go to Arizona it’s my time to just forget about responsibilities back home, relax and just play ball.”
One event that Joe is most proud of as a league president came about in 2015. “In July 2015 we played an All-Star game at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. Managers and All-Stars from participating teams who made their requirement of Astros Ticket Vouchers sales were allowed to participate. There were about 40 Players involved of all age groups represented from the Houston Hardball League, plus a few lucky bat boys. It was an amazing once in a lifetime experience.”