Baseball fans in heaven are excited about the prospect of more doubleheaders, because as Ernie Banks said, “It’s a great day for a ball game; let’s play two!”
Baseball great Ernie Banks died yesterday at the age of 83. “Mr. Cub” was noted for his sunny disposition, loyalty and his excitement for just playing the game. And, he could play the game.
Let’s Play Two – The Ernie Banks Legend
As a shortstop, he hit 47 home runs in one year and was twice named MVP. A member of baseball’s All Century team, Banks started playing professional baseball with the Kansas City Monarchs before his 19 seasons with the Cubs. Banks never lost his enthusiasm for the game despite the Cubs’ struggles. “The Cubs are due in ’62” and “The Cubs will shine in ’69” were a couple of his slogans.
He played in the Majors from 1953 thru 1971. After baseball, Banks founded a charitable organization and was the first Black Ford Motor Company dealer. Born in Dallas in a family of 12 kids, his father played semi-pro baseball.
Banks was an army veteran, serving in Germany during the Korean War. He played basketball part time with Harlem Globetrotters while stationed at Fort Bliss in Texas.
Banks hit 512 home runs in his career with the Cubs and was selected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2013, President Obama presented Ernie Banks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Banks presented President Obama with a bat used by Jackie Robinson.
“The only way to prove that you’re a good sport is to lose,” said Banks.
Playing for the hard luck Cubs, Banks had many opportunities to practice being a good sport. He never let the hard seasons affect his attitude.
Ernie Banks was a winner.
(photo: Topps baseball cards)