A Tribute To Ernie Banks: RIP Mr. Cub

    By Rick Kaempfer
    In News
    Jan 24th, 2015
    0 Comments
    4605 Views

    There are lots of things written about Ernie Banks on this website, but in honor of Mr. Cub’s untimely passing, I thought I would put them all together in one place for you.

    First off, Ernie’s entry in my Every Cub Ever A-Z feature

    Ernie Banks 1969~Ernie Banks 1931 (Cubs 1953-1971)
    Ernie is not only a Hall of Famer, he’s the first African American player to ever play for the Chicago Cubs. The way he became a Cub is almost a fluke. At the end of the 1953 season, Gene Baker was called up to be the first African-American Cubs player. Ernie was signed shortly thereafter from the Kansas City Monarchs. They signed Ernie strictly because they needed another black player to room with Baker. If they didn’t have Baker, they wouldn’t have signed Banks. They honestly had no idea what they were getting in Banks, either. One of the Cubs coaches, Ray Blades, gave Ernie a book called “How to play baseball” even though he had hit .380 for the Monarchs. Banks only got in the lineup first because Baker was hurt (he got into a game three days later). At the time, inserting Banks into the lineup was a very controversial move, because shortstop was considered a “thinking man’s” position, and Banks was the first African-American in Major League history to play shortstop on a regular basis. Needless to say, it worked out just fine. Why do they call Ernie Banks Mr. Cub? Ernie is among the top 5 all-time Cubs in games played (1st), at bats (1st), hits (2nd), runs (5th), doubles (3rd), home runs (2nd), and RBI (2nd). Unfortunately he also played in more losses than any other player in baseball history. In a little known bit of trivia, he also was the first African-American manager. When manager Whitey Lockman was kicked out of a game in 1974, Ernie was the acting manager for one inning. Frank Robinson became the first full-time African American manager just a few months later. Banks was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1977, and in 2008 Ernie became a part of Wrigley Field when the club unveiled his statue. It stands right in front of the main gate at Addison and Clark. Countless Cub fans take pictures in front of it every year. (Photo: Topps 1969 baseball card)
    AUDIO: Ernie at the Hall of Fame…

    Bert Wilson was a Cubs announcer during the first few seasons that Ernie Banks played for the team. In Spring Traiing of 1955, he interviewed the youngster, who was still shy and reserved at the time. Clearly Ernie found his voice in subsequent years…
    AUDIO:

    Over the years we’ve posted lots of videos about Ernie. Here are a few of my favorites…

    Jack Brickhouse describes Ernie’s greatness…

    Ernie faces Mickey Mantle in Home Run Derby…

    Ernie’s 500th homer…

    Ernie flashes that incredible personality…

    The unveiling of Ernie’s statue (I was there that day)…

    The President (a Sox fan) honors Ernie…

    Eddie Vedder brings Ernie on stage during Pearl Jam concert…

    RIP Ernie…My childhood hero.

    Ernie Banks MVP

    Ernie Banks 1964

    Ernie Banks 1970

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