Results tagged ‘ Glenn Beckert ’
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.
The Grand Ballroom at the Hilton Chicago was packed Saturday as Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins, plus Randy Hundley, Jose Cardenal, Glenn Beckert, and Milt Pappas shared stories about Ron Santo. There were lots of laughs during the hour-long segment, clearly the most popular of all the events at the Cubs Convention. Beckert said when he first joined the Cubs, he was thrilled to learn he would room with Santo on the road. “About a year later, I found out nobody else on the team wanted to room with him,” Beckert said.
Banks recalled Santo’s competitive spirit, saying “Billy would hit a home run and Ronnie would want to hit a home run.”
“He was like a brother to me,” Banks said. “I always think about him — he’s my friend.”
Santo died Dec. 3 from bladder cancer. He was 70. The Cubs will honor him with a No. 10 patch on their uniforms and also dedicate a bronze statue outside Wrigley Field.
– Carrie Muskat
It was an impressive turnout Friday at Ron Santo’s funeral at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. Among the guests to pay respects to the broadcaster and third baseman were Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams, as well as Glenn Beckert and Randy Hundley. The casket was first escorted up the steps of the church by Cubs traveling secretary Jimmy Bank, WGN Radio engineer Matt Boltz, and some of Santo’s radio partners, including Andy Masur, Cory Provus and Judd Sirott.
“It was our last pregame show together,” said Masur, now a broadcaster with the Padres.
Pat Hughes, who was Santo’s partner for 15 seasons on WGN Radio delivered a tribute as did Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts.
“Ron was the fans’ broadcaster — he was the fan in the booth,” Ricketts said.
Others at the service included Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, and broadcasters Gary Matthews, Thom Brennaman, Len Kasper, and Bob Brenly. Several Cubs players, past and present, were, including Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall, Koyie Hill, Tom Gorzelanny, Justin Berg, Ted Lilly, Kevin Orie, Dave Otto and Scott Sanderson. Cubs manager Mike Quade, general manager Jim Hendry and the rest of the team’s front office also were present to pay respects.
“He’s the No. 1 Cubs fan ever,” Hughes said.
Santo got one last look at Wrigley Field as the funeral procession did a lap of the ballpark.
– Carrie Muskat