Saturday, January 24, 2015

'Mr. Cub' Ernie Banks Passes Away At Age 83

Ernie Banks (1931-2015)
When I began following baseball as a young kid in the halcyon days of the late1950s, there were a few players who stood out as special. There was, of course, our hometown hero Ted Williams—but also Wille Mays, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Ernie Banks. I took a particular liking to Banks, since we shared an unusual first name—and he was so much more interesting to follow than other namesakes like 'Tennessee' Ernie Ford and the fictional Ernie Bilko. Of all the superstars of that era, Banks seemed more low-key—not in terms of performance, but demeanor. He was a true gentleman with a slick glove and and powerful bat—one that netted him 512 HRs over his 19 seasons and Hall of Fame enshrinement. His entire career was with the Chicago Cubs—and so ingrained was Ernie to that team that he will always be known as "Mr. Cub". Ernie passed away yesterday at the age of 83. The world lost a great baseball player and a great gentleman.