Saturday, January 24, 2015


If there was 1 player that every athlete and baseball fan knew and loved, it was Ernie Banks.  I was always fond of the man. Mr. Banks played his entire career with the Cubs, from 1953 to 1971 and was always smiling.  He loved the great game of baseball and it was evident even way after he retired.  Well... Mr. Banks has passed and we at BYB are sad this morning.

According to the Chicago Tribune:

"...Banks became the Cubs' first African-American player on Sept. 17, 1953, and went on to become an 11-time All-Star and two-time National League Most Valuable Player (1958-59). His boundless enthusiasm and optimism personified what it meant to be a Cubs fan.

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts released the following statement Friday night:

 'Words cannot express how important Ernie Banks will always be to the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago and Major League Baseball. He was one of the greatest players of all time. He was a pioneer in the major leagues. And more importantly, he was the warmest and most sincere person I’ve ever known.

Approachable, ever optimistic and kind-hearted, Ernie Banks is and always will be Mr. Cub. My family and I grieve the loss of such a great and good-hearted man, but we look forward to celebrating Ernie’s life in the days ahead.'"

As I state here from time to time when I am taken by an individual... "He was one of the good ones." Well, Ernie Banks was.  Courteous. Kind. Hard Working and dedicated to his craft on the field, as well as to his family.

I met Mr. Banks over a decade ago. I shook his hand and his old eyes looked back at me. His eyes were smiling.  I said, "Mr Banks, I admire you, sir."

He put his left hand over our shaking hands and squeezed it tighter...

"Thank you young man, but call me Mr. Cub."

Now I can't remember if he winked at me, but I felt like he did as I was listening to my radio this morning in bed. When I heard the news he passed, that brief meeting between he and eye came rushing back into my thoughts. Maybe it was me half dreaming, or maybe he really did wink... I don't remember.  But if anyone knows Mr. Ernie Banks... you know he probably did.

He loved the game, loved the Cubs, the fans and yes, he was one of the good ones.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Banks family today. Rest in Peace, Mr. Cub.

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