Bankhead pitched for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team and appeared in only 31 games in the minors before being called up by the Royals. He was traded to Seattle in the deal for Danny Tartabull. In his first month with the Mariners, Bankhead went 4-1 with a 2.94 ERA, but he developed tendinitis and ended the season with a less impressive 9-8 record and 5.42 ERA.
His usually sharp control and ability were established by 1988, but it wasn’t until 1989, when he went on a hot streak after the All-Star break, that he proved himself a winning pitcher. He finished that year 14-6 with a 3.34 ERA and was named co-MVP of the team along with Alvin Davis.
Shoulder trouble would limit Bankhead to 21 appearances over the next two seasons, but he revived his career as a reliever with Cincinnati in 1992. In 54 games, all in relief, Bankhead won 10 times with one save while posting a 2.93 ERA. Two years as a middleman for the Red Sox and a last hurrah with the Yankees in 1995 closed out his career.