Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Lou Brock, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be among the speakers Saturday at the funeral service for Cubs legend Ernie Banks.
Saturday’s memorial service at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 East Chestnut Street in downtown Chicago, will begin at 10 a.m. CT and will include remembrances, readings and tributes. The list also includes Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts,
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., will take part with a personal tribute, as well as John Rogers, a close friend of Banks. Banks’ twin sons, Jerry and Joey, also will have personal tributes.
Former manager Joe Torre, now chief baseball officer with Major League Baseball, will represent MLB.
Following the memorial service, the procession will embark on a route that will pass Banks’ statue in Daley Plaza and Wrigley Field. Because of the renovation work at Wrigley Field, fans who want to gather at the ballpark are asked to view the procession from the following locations: the southwest corner of Sheffield Avenue and Addison Street in front of the Captain Morgan Club; along the south side of Addison Street between Sheffield Avenue and Clark Street; or along the west side of Clark Street between Addison Street and Waveland Avenue.
At the end of Saturday’s service, the procession will leave the church and drive south on Michigan Avenue, west on Randolph Street, south on Clark Street and east on Washington Street, where it will pass the bronze statue in Daley Plaza.
The procession will then head to Lake Shore Drive and take the Belmont Avenue exit. The procession will head west on Belmont Avenue, northwest on Clark Street, north on Sheffield Avenue and west on Addison Street to Clark Street, where it will pass the Wrigley Field marquee.
Banks passed away last Friday; he would’ve celebrated his 84th birthday this Saturday. On Wednesday, Emanuel and Banks’ wife Liz placed a wreath at the base of the bronze statue of Mr. Cub, which has been relocated to Daley Plaza for a public memorial.
There will be limited public seating available for Saturday’s memorial service. Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN Radio will both broadcast the service live.
* Public visitation will be Friday from 12-8 p.m. CT at Fourth Presbyterian Church.
– Carrie Muskat
Javier Baez will not play in the Caribbean Series, although the Cubs infielder apparently wanted to play. Baez was playing for Santurce, which won the Puerto Rican winter league championship. According to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, Baez will not continue in the Caribbean Series, which begins Monday in Puerto Rico. Sources told Sanchez that Baez wanted to play but the Cubs shut him down. Position players are scheduled to report to Spring Training in Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 24.
In 15 playoff games with Santurce, Baez batted .203 (13-for-64) with two doubles, four RBIs, and four walks. He struck out 18 times. Santurce, which is managed by former big leaguer Eduardo Perez, advanced by beating Mayaguez, 4-2, in the best-of-seven Puerto Rican championship series.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who is friends with Perez, watched Baez play Saturday and Sunday in Puerto Rico.
– Carrie Muskat
Comcast SportsNet Chicago will broadcast Ernie Banks Memorial Service live on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. CT. The service will be held at Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago. In addition, Comcast SportsNet’s digital home, CSNChicago.com, will also provide a live video stream of the memorial service in its entirety.
Comcast SportsNet’s coverage of the service will be hosted by the network’s Cubs pre/postgame studio team of David Kaplan and Todd Hollandsworth, with SportsNet Central’s Cubs beat reporter Kelly Crull and CSNChicago.com Cubs “Insider” Patrick Mooney providing on-site reports and interviews.
Fans of the Cubs Hall of Famer are urged to post their fondest memories throughout CSN’s coverage by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #MrCub.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ernie Banks’ wife Liz placed a red, white and blue wreath Wednesday at the base of a bronze statue for Mr. Cub, relocated to Daley Plaza for a public memorial.
“We all know Ernie was Mr. Cub and you don’t become Mr. Cub because you play a lot of baseball games or hit a lot of home runs,” said Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, who attended the brief ceremony. “You become Mr. Cub because you love the team, you love the fans, you love the ballpark more than anyone else.
“We all loved Ernie and we appreciate this opportunity for people to come by and pay their final respects to a great baseball player and more than anything, a great person,” Ricketts said.
The statue is now located near the Picasso statue in the outdoor plaza. Emanuel noted that some critics of the Picasso, which was dedicated in 1967, had actually lobbied for a statue of Banks at that time. Chicago City Alderman John Hoellen had immediately proposed replacing the 50-foot Picasso with a statue of Mr. Cub.
“When the Picasso was first put here, a lot of people didn’t like it,” Emanuel said. “They said, ‘What are we doing with that statue? Why don’t we have something like an Ernie Banks statue in Daley Plaza?’ So we’ve finally done that.”
The setting created a very appropriate Chicago backdrop, and people passing through the plaza stopped to take photos or pose for selfies of the statue. Some left flowers, signs and teddy bears.
“Ernie Banks was Mr. Cub and will always be known as Mr. Cub, and he always will be and always has been Mr. Chicago,” Emanuel said. “We owe [Liz Banks] a debt of gratitude for sharing him.”
Banks, who played his entire career with the Cubs from 1953-71, passed away Friday at the age of 83.
“He came here in 1953, and since that time, the city of Chicago has been totally enthralled and engrasped by his smile and that twinkle in his eyes and the way he took this city,” Emanuel said. “He took it by storm, and I think you can see by the outpouring of love and affection for him that he has become what started as Mr. Cub, let’s play two, to actually Mr. Chicago. He’s been our greatest ambassador.
“What I loved about him, even when he was done playing the sport he loved, he was never done engaging kids, not only in sports but in their minds and what they could do,” Emanuel said. “That’s why there’s been an outpouring of love and affection for him. He had that special twinkle that touched people in a way that not all athletes do. He knew the difference between being an athlete and also being what a role model truly is.”
The statue will remain in Daley Plaza through Saturday. Public visitation will be Friday and a memorial service on Saturday at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 East Chestnut Street, Chicago. The public visitation will be from 12-8 p.m. CT Friday. On Saturday, there will be limited public seating available for the memorial service, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. CT. Several of Banks’ teammates were expected to attend.
– Carrie Muskat
* Santurce won the Puerto Rico championship series with a 5-3 win Tuesday night over Mayaguez. Javier Baez went 0-for-4 for Santurce, which won the best-of-seven series, 4-2, and now qualifies for the Caribbean series, scheduled to begin Feb. 2.
* Junior Lake had two hits, including a two-run homer in the eighth, in Estrellas’ 12-5 loss to Gigantes Tuesday in the Dominican League championship series. Gigantes won the best of nine series, 5-3, and advances to the Caribbean Series.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon and first baseman Anthony Rizzo will be featured in “The Offseason: Hope in Chicago and Miami,” the third installment of MLB Network Presents on Tuesday at 8 p.m. CT.
The Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton also will be featured. Hosted by Bob Costas, the show offers exclusive profiles of three of the most talked-about names in Major League Baseball today as they face enormous expectations in the upcoming 2015 season.
The program begins with a behind-the-scenes look at Stanton’s daily life this offseason, following the signing of his record-setting $325 million contract with the Marlins in November 2014. Joined by MLB Network’s Peter Gammons, Stanton speaks in-depth about the traumatic injury that brought an early end to his 2014 season, and looks ahead to getting back on the field in 2015. Stanton also brings the cameras inside his rigorous workout routine as he goes through hitting drills and practice sessions in Southern California.
The episode continues with a trip to Chicago as Maddon brings MLB Network’s Tom Verducci inside his new life as the Cubs’ skipper at the annual Cubs Convention. Filmed last week in between interviews, autograph appearances, meetings and a coaches Q&A panel, Maddon discusses his decision-making process to leave the Rays and join the Cubs, and his methodology on managing. Maddon also addresses the heightened expectations in Chicago, including Rizzo’s recent comments about how the Cubs will win the NL Central division this season. Maddon’s response? “I totally agree with him that we can win the Central this year. No question in my mind.”
The hour-long show concludes with a look at the journey Rizzo has taken from battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2008 to becoming a first-time All-Star with the Cubs last season. Sitting down with MLB Network’s Lauren Shehadi at his home in Florida, Rizzo discusses the initial shock of being diagnosed with cancer and how he was able to persevere with the help of his family and the baseball community. Also included are interviews with Rizzo’s parents, John and Laurie, as well as Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who discusses Rizzo’s character and the relationship he has with the first baseman, which began when Epstein, then-GM of the Boston Red Sox, drafted Rizzo in the sixth round of the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Cubs pitcher and cancer survivor Jon Lester and Rizzo also detail the bond they share, beginning with their first-ever conversation at Fenway Park shortly after Rizzo’s cancer diagnosis, and continuing up to today, when they became teammates after Lester signed with the Cubs as a free agent in December.
MLB Network Presents is a series of documentaries and access-driven profiles on some of baseball’s most prominent personalities that will air on Tuesdays throughout the offseason on MLB Network.
– Carrie Muskat
Public visitation and memorial services for Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, will be held Friday and Saturday at Fourth Presbyterian Church, the Cubs announced.
The public visitation will be from 12-8 p.m. CT at the church, located at 126 East Chestnut Street, Chicago. On Saturday, there will be limited public seating available for the memorial service, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. CT at the church.
Banks passed away last Friday after suffering a heart attack. He would’ve celebrated his 84th birthday this Saturday.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Banks’ memory to Cubs Charities, 1060 W. Addison Street, Chicago, IL 60613, or by visiting http://www.cubs.com/give and clicking “Donate Now”.
There will be a public memorial for fans starting Wednesday at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago. The bronze statue of Banks, which had been moved from Wrigley Field once renovation work began on the 100-year-old ballpark, will be installed at the outdoor plaza until Saturday. Banks, who played his entire career with the Cubs from 1953-71, was the first player in franchise history to be honored with a statue at Wrigley in 2008.
– Carrie Muskat