Results tagged ‘ Ernie Banks ’
Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. President Barack H. Obama made the announcement Thursday.
“I am humbled and honored to receive this great award and to be among such distinguished honorees,” Banks said in a statement. “I have spent my life trying to help others enjoy and appreciate the sport I love. I thank President Obama for all his efforts. The Chicago Cubs and Cubs fans everywhere share in this award as their support makes me proud to continue to work on behalf of America’s greatest game.”
According to the White House, The Medal of Freedom is the highest honor awarded to civilians in the United States. It was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy and is presented to those who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Banks joins a distinguished list of baseball players to receive this prestigious award, including Hank Aaron (2002), Roberto Clemente (2003) Joe DiMaggio (1977), Stan Musial (2011), Buck O’Neil (2006), Frank Robinson (2005), Jackie Robinson (1984) and Ted Williams (1991).
“This honor is well deserved for a man who has done so much for the game of baseball, said Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Cubs. “His contributions on and off the field have made a monumental impact to society. He is a great American ambassador who continues to spend his time and effort helping others love and appreciate America’s pastime.
“On behalf of my family and Cubs fans everywhere, we are extremely proud of Ernie. Besides being one of the all-time greatest baseball players, Ernie has been a tremendous role model for young people and his zest for life, represented by his credo “Let’s Play Two”, has been an inspiration to generations of Cubs fans.”
Today’s a big day at Wrigley Field as fans can start collecting a limited edition of Topps baseball cards. The Topps Company and the Cubs have partnered to create an exclusive, 82-card Topps Archives set, featuring current and former Cubs players on classic card designs. The player and design pairings are unique to the set. The cards will be given away in four installments, starting today. Other dates are July 5, Aug. 2, and Aug. 30. Today’s packet features Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson and Ron Santo plus Shawon Dunston and Anthony Rizzo.
Alfonso Soriano did his part Saturday night, hitting a two-run home run in the ninth, his 32nd.
“I know I’m 36 years old, but I don’t feel like it,” Soriano said. “My body feels good, my hands. I know my knee is not the same but my hitting, my hands are still the same.”
Said D-backs pitcher Trevor Cahill: “I was 0-2 [in the count] and trying to throw one off the plate so he would groundout, get a double play and end it, but it stayed up high. He’s a good player.”
Soriano has 32 home runs and a career-high 108 RBIs, reaching 30 homers and 100 RBIs for the third time in his career and his first time with the Cubs. He has 32 home runs since hitting his first blast on May 15, the most home runs by any NL player starting that date. Soriano is one of only three players in the NL this season to reach 30 home runs and 100 RBIs, joining Ryan Braun (41 homers, 112 RBI) and Chase Headley (30, 112).
Soriano’s 108 RBIs have come at the age of 36 with the Cubs. He’s the first player in franchise history to reach at least 107 RBIs at the age of 36 or older. Ernie Banks had 106 RBIs at the age of 38 in 1969 and Moises Alou had 106 RBIs at the age of 37 in 2004.
– Carrie Muskat
Alfonso Soriano is one of six players in Major League history to reach at least 350 home runs, 400 doubles, 250 stolen bases, 1,000 RBIs and 1,000 runs scored. He joinsWillie Mays, Andre Dawson, Gary Sheffield, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. Now in his sixth season with the Cubs, Soriano has joined Dawson as the only two players in Cubs history to reach 20 home runs in each of his first six seasons with the club. Soriano’s 158 Cubs home runs already rank 13th on the team all-time.
With 27 games still to play this season, Soriano enters Wednesday’s game with 26 home runs and 88 RBIs in 2012, identical numbers to his 2011 season-ending totals. The 88 RBIs each of his last two seasons represent his highest single-season totals with the Cubs. Soriano’s average of one home run per 18.63 at bats with the Cubs is the sixth-best mark in franchise history (minimum 100 home runs), trailing only Sammy Sosa, Hank Sauer, Hack Wilson, Aramis Ramirez and Ernie Banks.
– Carrie Muskat
Fans can hear what new Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer have to say at the 27th Cubs Convention, Jan. 13-15, at the Hilton Chicago. Weekend passes go on sale Wednesday at 10 a.m. CT. Fans can purchase up to six passes per person while they are in supply. Each weekend pass is $60 plus convenience fees, with proceeds benefitting Chicago Cubs Charities. Passes will be available for purchase by visiting Cubs.com or by calling 1-800-THE-CUBS.
Besides seminars with Epstein and Hoyer, fans will see Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins at the event.
The 2012 Cubs Convention will feature enhanced layouts and new exhibits, such as an interactive baseball area hosted by the Illinois Baseball Academy, a new electronic gaming zone and the LEGOLAND® Discovery Zone. A weekend pass will include access to those features, as well as autograph/photo opportunities, question and answer sessions, and a variety of memorabilia and vendor booths.
– Carrie Muskat
If you drive by Wrigley Field next week and notice the Ernie Banks’ statue is missing from the corner of Clark and Addison streets, do not panic. The bronze is being removed for maintenance and will be taken to sculptor Lou Cella’s studio. The work was expected to take about 10 days.
– Carrie Muskat
Everyone has their special memory of Ron Santo. Mike Quade got a chance to interact with the late third baseman and broadcaster daily, and that relationship developed when he got the manager’s job last August.
“What a character,” Quade said of Santo, who will be honored Wednesday with a statue outside Wrigley Field. “Growing up as a kid and all of us who have watched him and the way he went about his business and the blue collar type of approach he had, all of that is near and dear to my heart as well as everybody else’s. The fact you can come to this ballpark and take a look at he and Billy [Williams] and Ernie [Banks] and some of the great players here on a daily basis with a statue out there is something special.”
The Cubs tweaked their batting practice schedule so the players could attend the ceremony on the corner of Addison and Sheffield. Santo’s passion for the Cubs and the game inspired catcher Koyie Hill to create the “PASS10N” t-shirts.
“It was nuts — his passion,” Quade said. “I don’t think I’ve met anybody who had passion like Ronnie did and it was sincere as the day is long. To ride on a plane with him after a loss — you could’ve won 10 in a row and you lose a game and he’s devastated and it was real. I think for all the things you remember about him — and back in the day when you could be with a club for years and years and years, he and Ernie and Billy meant as much to the city as anybody baseball wise, at least in my lifetime.
“We miss him. This is going to be a real good day.”
– Carrie Muskat
Billy Williams has shared a spot in the Cubs lineup with Ron Santo, and played with the third baseman in the Minor Leagues and Major Leagues. The Hall of Fame outfielder is more than willing to share his corner at Addison and Sheffield streets outside Wrigley Field.
On Wednesday night, the Cubs will unveil a statue honoring the late Santo, who died in December at the age of 70. The bronze will be placed on the same corner near the right field corner as a statue of Williams.
“I wish he could have been here for this,” Williams said of his former teammate. “I’m really thrilled about it. With Ernie and myself having been pillars of this organization, it’s only fitting for him to have a statue.”
Santo’s statue will be the third of a Cubs player, joining Banks, whose bronze is at the Clark and Addison corner, and Williams, whose statue was added last year. There also is a bronze of broadcaster Harry Caray at the corner of Sheffield and Waveland.
“We’ve been sharing third, fourth place all the time [in the lineup],” said Williams, who played for the Cubs from 1959-74, while Santo played from 1960-73. “We were in Double-A, Triple-A baseball together. Rogers Hornsby put his stamp of approval on us. It’s nice [the statues are together]. I like sharing the corner with the guy.”
Williams will join Santo’s former teammates Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Randy Hundley and Glenn Beckert at the festivities, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. CT.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs will unveil a statue of late third baseman and broadcaster Ron Santo on Wednesday at the corner of Sheffield and Addison streets outside Wrigley Field. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. CT, and guests scheduled to attend include members of the Santo and Ricketts families and several of Santo’s teammates, including Ernie Banks, Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundley, Fergie Jenkins, Milt Pappas and Billy Williams. In honor of the event, the Cubs will donate $10 from every ticket sold on Cubs.com using the special promo code “JDRF.” The Cubs play host to the Nationals that night at Wrigley Field.
– Carrie Muskat
Hall of Famer Ernie Banks was asked how good Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is on the day the 21-year-old was named to his first All-Star Game.
“He’s better than me,” Banks said.
Castro, who has ranked among the National League leaders in hits and multi-hit games, was the Cubs’ lone selection to the All-Star Game, announced Sunday.
Castro, 21, who will be making his first All-Star appearance, is the first Cubs shortstop to get the honor since Shawon Dunston in 1990. He’s the youngest Cubs player selected; Greg Maddux was 22 when he was named to the All-Star team in 1988 but didn’t play.
“It feels pretty good,” Castro said. “I feel real excited, and my family is very happy, too.”
Last year, Marlon Byrd was the Cubs’ only All-Star representative.
Castro, who was batting .309, was second in the National League in hits with 108 and multi-hit games with 32. He kicked off the season with a .348 April, has gotten the attention of more than Cubs fans.
“That kid shortstop is amazing,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “An amazing player, a very good player. You don’t see any kid that young with that much comfort at the plate. This kid has a great chance to be a great player.”
– Carrie Muskat