Results tagged ‘ Ernie Banks ’
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
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
Just in case you missed it, some current Cubs, future Cubs and past Cubs shared their feelings about Ernie Banks on Twitter:
* Anthony Rizzo:
“Mr Cub. What you have done for the game of baseball the city of Chicago and everyone you have touched will never be forgotten. RIP”
* Kris Bryant:
“RIP Mr. Cub. What he accomplished on and off the field is truly amazing. I’m honored ot wear the same uniform as him. #LetsPlayTwo”
* Joe Maddon:
“Never met Ernie, but heavily feel the loss … uniquely lived life … will always wish I had … my sympathies to the Banks family”
* Justin Grimm:
“R.I.P. Mr. Cub Ernie Banks! It was a pleasure to shake the hand of a Hall of Famer and a wonderful man to have around the clubhouse!”
* Darnell McDonald:
“Mr. Cub had the ability to instantly make you feel like a lifelong friend when you met. HOF person. #ThankYou #Salute”
* John Baker:
“Talk about star struck, try walking by [Banks’] statue on your way to work, then shaking the hand of the man. #MrCub”
* Sammy Sosa
“I wanted to express my sincere condolences to the family and fans of #mrcub, the legendary, #ErnieBanks. He was the first African-American to play for the Chicago Cubs paving the way for many future baseball players like myself. Rest in peace. #chicagocubs”
Fans can pay their respects to Ernie Banks starting Wednesday at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago. The Cubs and the city of Chicago announced that the bronze statue of Banks, which had been at Wrigley Field, will be installed in the downtown outdoor plaza from Wednesday morning until Saturday.
Banks passed away Friday at the age of 83.
The statue of Banks had been removed from Wrigley Field when renovation work began on the 100-year-old ballpark in October and was in storage in Michigan.
“Ernie Banks’ legacy extends far beyond his Hall of Fame stats,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “He was beloved by generations of people for the way he played on the field and -– more importantly -– for the kind and warm person he was off the field. We are bringing Ernie’s statue to Daley Plaza to honor not just one of the best ballplayers of all time, but a great man who made our city proud from the day we first met him in 1953.”
The Cubs also plan to celebrate Banks’ life in-season, and will announce details about that later. The Cubs players are expected to wear patches on their uniforms to honor the Hall of Famer, who would’ve celebrated his 84th birthday next Saturday. Banks died of a heart attack, attorney Mark Bogen said Sunday. Bogen spoke for Banks’ wife, Liz, at a news conference on Sunday.
“Ernie Banks was a wonderful husband, a great father and grandfather,” Bogen said, reading from a statement. “People have called Ernie Banks the ambassador of baseball, but in reality, he was the ambassador for humanity.”
Bogen noted that Banks “loved people and wanted to hear their stories, their lives, and not talk about his. Instead of talking about baseball, he would talk about life.”
Bogen said Banks was a chaplain and had presided over pitcher Sean Marshall’s wedding. Banks also cared about the troops and participated in USO programs, advocated for a float in the Chicago Gay Rights parade, and worked with Special Olympics.
“Ernie Banks was a kind, loving, positive man who cared about people,” Bogen said. “One of his favorite quotes was, ‘Life is a song, sing it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a sacrifice, offer it. Life is love, enjoy it now.”
The Banks family has created a Facebook page called “Ernie Banks Remembered” for fans to celebrate his life.
Funeral arrangements were being finalized, Bogen said.
– Carrie Muskat
Some of Ernie Banks’ former Cubs teammates and a few other notable Cubs players were in Mesa, Ariz., on Saturday, taking part in Randy Hundley’s fantasy camp. Here is their reaction to Banks’ passing on Friday:
* Glenn Beckert
“To me it’s a tragic thing, really a tragic thing. I lost one of my best friends. You don’t realize how close you were to some of those old athletes until something like this happens. He was great to play with. He was my best hitting instructor. In 1965, I came up as a young kid and he was still at first base. You can’t imagine the impact. I played with him for seven years. This has hit me hard. It’s hard think about losing a friend like that.”
* Randy Hundley
“Ernie was terrific to play with. I remember the first year I joined the ballclub, Leo [Durocher] was the manager. He called a meeting and he got on Ernie, he told Ernie that every time the pitcher threw over to first base, he wanted Ernie to tag the guy even if he had been standing there for five minutes. And Ernie did it without complaining with every runner that got on first base.
“He was a wonderful person to play with. He and I used to talk a lot when we were on the plane. He’d come over and sit with me and we’d talk about the game.”
“It was sad to hear that he had passed last night. I was very sorry to hear that. … We lost a wonderful person. I saw him the last time during the last couple of months. We missed him very much at the Cubs Convention. I sure wish I had been able to see him then.”
* Gary Matthews Sr.
“I mean, obviously, without a doubt, the greatest player, if not recognized player, in Cubs history. You know, I just saw him recently and he really looked happy. He looked good. He had lost a lot of weight. He was a guy for me who really loved life. He lived his life like that. The Cubs family is going to miss him, without a doubt. Just in terms of being the first black player the Cubs had and the home runs he hit. A shortstop that went to first just shows you what a great player he was, but he’s not here anymore, period. All fans are going to miss him.”
* Bob Dernier
“For me, if there was a monarch, a King Cub, he certainly filled that role. The way he treated me was just golden. He gave me a joyful welcome and sort of a big brother hug. I thought a lot of Ernie. I think we all did. He’ll be sorely missed, but he’s up there with [Ron] Santo and Harry [Caray] and a variety of others. They’re welcoming him now. He was the ambassador of Cubs baseball, no doubt. I just go by my own experience and he always treated me very kindly. I feel badly for the guys who played with him. I can feel their sadness because I know how I would feel if and when I lose a teammate. Not if, when. That’s part of the gig. They have to have a heavy heart.”
* Ed Lynch
“There are certain players who define an organization. For the San Francisco Giants, it’s Willie Mays. For the New York Mets, it’s Tom Seaver. I think Ernie Banks was that kind of player. He defined the Chicago Cubs. During the lean years of the 1950s he was the one bright spot for the fans. And he transitioned into the very good teams they had in the late ‘60s. From my experience being in Chicago as a player and a general manager I don’t think there was any more beloved player than Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. Just the name itself was indicative of the high regard in which he’s held by the fans, the city and the organization.
“I knew him well. We didn’t socialize or anything, but he knew that as the general manager, I was trying to make the club better and he was all for that. One thing about those guys –- Ernie, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Randy Hundley, Glenn Beckert –- all those guys legitimately rooted for the Cubs. They wanted the Cubs to win. And you felt that. You felt that support from all those guys and Ernie was one of them.
“It’s a huge loss, not only for the organization, but for the city and for baseball. You know, this guy wasn’t too far removed from Jackie Robinson. He was only six years removed. It wasn’t exactly a picnic for Larry Doby and Roy Campanella and that whole group that came in the 1960s. It was a still a pretty tough environment to not only work, but to succeed. And they succeeded. These were the type of people who encompassed what America was all about and that’s why he received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama because he deserved it. He blazed the trail. They were out there alone. They did it alone. I have the utmost respect for the players of that era who did it alone. They were the true trail blazers and Ernie was certainly one of those guys.”
Reported by MLB.com’s Barry Bloom in Mesa, Ariz.
In an interview with Ernie Banks for my book, “Banks to Sandberg to Grace,” the Cubs legend told me a story about how a nurse at a health spa in Tucson, Ariz., asked him for a favor. Here’s Ernie telling the story:
“[She said] ‘My grandfather was a longtime Cub fan and before he died, he wanted his ashes spread at Wrigley Field. Do they do that there?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know but I’ll let you know before I leave.’
“So I called, and they said, ‘Well, Ernie, we get a lot of requests from people who want to do that. We don’t publicize it because we don’t want to make it sound like a cemetery.’
“I know we haven’t played well but it’s not a cemetery, so I told [the nurse] that. She said, ‘OK, but I really wanted it to happen.’
“So now, I want it to happen to me. I want my ashes to be spread over Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out.”
Looking back at Ernie Banks career, here are some of his home run highlights:
* Of his 512 career home runs, Banks hit four walk-off blasts, 50 that tied the game, and 164 that gave the Cubs the lead.
* He homered off 216 pitchers. Robin Roberts served up the most (15), and Banks hit seven each off Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, and six off Warren Spahn.
* Banks hit 277 homers while playing shortstop, 210 as a first baseman.
* Of the total homers, 290 came at Wrigley Field.
* Banks’ first home run came Sept. 20, 1953, three days after his big league debut. He connected in the eighth off Gerry Staley in St. Louis. Home run No. 500 came May 12, 1970, off the Braves’ Pat Jarvis at WRigley Field in the second inning. Banks’ last homer was Aug. 24, 1971, also at Wrigley Field, when he connected off the Reds’ Jim McGlothlin in the fourth inning.
President Barack Obama, who had presented Ernie Banks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2013, issued a statement Saturday regarding the passing of Mr. Cub. Banks died Friday at 83.
“Michelle and I send our condolences to the family of Ernie Banks, and to every Chicagoan and baseball fan who loved him,” Obama said in the statement.
“Ernie came up through the Negro Leagues, making $7 a day,” Obama said. “He became the first African-American to play for the Chicago Cubs, and the first number the team retired. Along the way, he became known as much for his 512 home runs and back-to-back National League MVPs as for his cheer, his optimism, and his love of the game.
“As a Hall-of-Famer, Ernie was an incredible ambassador for baseball, and for the city of Chicago,” Obama said. “He was beloved by baseball fans everywhere, including Michelle, who, when she was a girl, used to sit with her dad and watch him play on TV. And in 2013, it was my honor to present Ernie with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“Somewhere, the sun is shining, the air is fresh, his team’s behind him, and Mr. Class — “Mr. Cub” — is ready to play two.”