The Chicago Cubs join with fans in mourning the passing of Ernie Banks, the greatest player in team history, at the age of 83 on Friday. Please share your memories of “Mr. Cub” and any condolences in the comments below.

WrigleyMarquee“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,” said Tom Ricketts, Chairman of the Cubs. “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.”

Inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1977, Ernie played the game he loved as a lifelong Cub for 19 seasons from when he made his debut with the club in 1953 — the club’s first African-American player — until his retirement in 1971. He was a 14-time All-Star and back-to-back National League Most Valuable Player in 1958 and 1959, finishing with 512 home runs — the most for a National League shortstop.

Please leave your comments below as we remember the man who was a beloved hero to so many.

71 Comments

This isn’t a memory, but a suggestion. I hope I’m not the first to suggest it. please consider renaming the Cubs’ new Spring Training Facility “Ernie Banks Field.”

Sorry for your loss and deepest sympathy to the Ernie Banks family.
As a 14 year old I was very fortunate to be the Cubs team batboy for the 1956 season & again for the Cubs team in 1957. I was privileged to have been able to pick up his bat & greet him as he crossed home plate after hitting one of his many home runs.
Ernie always had a smile, nod or hello each day for everyone including me. His constant upbeat demeanor was amazing in view of the personal environment he came from & was living in at the time. He also had to contend with being an exceptional player on a team that seldom finished out of last place. Ernie is one of the reasons I have gone through life always believing the glass is half full or more rather than half empty.
Been a Cub fan since 3 years old and like Ernie, still waiting for that World Series win. It’s coming soon and when it does Ernie along with Ron will be the ones showering us with confetti from above.

Ernie will always be Mr. Cub! I grew up three blocks from Wrigley Field and all of my friends and I looked up to and emulated Ernie! Thanks for being a great influence on our lives Ernie, and thanks for being Our hero!

One of the dearest moments of my childhood came to mind on Friday, January 23rd, when I learned of the death of the greatest baseball player I ever had the chance to meet…..Hall of Famer….Ernie Banks.

He was age 83 at the time of his death.

Growing up approximately 6 blocks from Wrigley Field in Chicago made me a Cub fan for life…..and nothing….NOTHING….even waiting 106 years for a Cub World Series, can compare to the sadness in my heart at losing a man whose integrity and love of the game was an inspiration to whoever had the privilege of meeting this GOOD and DECENT MAN.

It all started back in 1955….60 years ago…at the age of 8 when I turned on WGN-TV to watch my first professional baseball game (in black and white with rabbit ears on our 10 inch screen) listening to a show called “The Lead Off Man” with Vince Lloyd, while in the background a man named Pat Piper could be heard saying:

“Attention…Attention please…have your pencils and scorecards ready for today’s starting line-up”.

One by one, each name was called…until the name Ernie Banks was announced as the starting shortstop….and for some reason….the crowd of about 800….yes, 800, not 8,000, began to cheer wildly.

…and then the game would start with Hall of Fame Broadcaster, Jack Brickhouse, in the TV booth…

…talking about this “kid” who hit home runs with the strangest batting stance anyone had ever seen….using “wrist action”.

This had to be explored by an eight year old kid in person…who would begin each summer day in the Mt. Carmel parking lot at daybreak to join the other kids in a softball game that began somewhere around 9:30am, broke for lunch (that mom made), and return for another 4-5 hours before the dinner bell sounded and dad got home, only to return afterwards until it got too dark to play any longer !

The only exception to that summer schedule….an occasional treat….going to a real game in person….when the Cubs were home….

…and spending the 60 cents for a grandstand seat….with the money we earned from our Kool-Aid stands in front of our houses ! (75 cents for a bleacher seat was beyond our affordability).

And…our parents let us go by ourselves too….there was never a concern as to safety !

You see, those were the days when baseball at Wrigley Field was only played in the DAYTIME….there were no lights in Wrigley Field until 1988 because the owner’s son, after purchasing them, donated them to the war effort before they were installed in 1942….

…and it was a joy….a wonderful joy….to watch baseball in the warm summer sun during each and every home game.

Wrigley Field was (and is) in a residential neighborhood where people actually live in apartment buildings within 50-100 feet of the park…

…and living less than a mile from the ballpark allowed us kids from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel grade school to WALK there….because we simply wanted to save the 25 cents bus fare, and buy TWO HOT DOGS at 10 cents each at the Waveland Bowl on Clark Street on the way to the park.

The games might have actually started at 1:20pm…but a kid on a mission, had to get there for batting practice at about 10:00am for two reasons…

…first, to make sure you got your 60 cents worth…

…but most importantly, to get to that special location across from the fire station on Waveland Avenue….where the players parked their cars !

And that is where I met Ernie Banks for the first time !

While so many of the players would hurry into the park to get ready for the game….

…not Ernie…no siree….

Ernie would NEVER refuse an autograph and ALWAYS showed his appreciation for the fans and his love of the game he knew he was blessed to be able to play professionally !

No matter what you had with you…a scorecard, a piece of notebook paper…even an old Popsicle wrapper…..Ernie would always sign it. He just LOVED KIDS.

But it wouldn’t stop BEFORE the game…

If you were a real “penniless fan” like I was….

…when the game ended, you had to beat the other kids in the park in gathering up and turning in 15 of the rented seat cushions in order to receive free admission to a future game….

…and then get back to the players parking lot to “attack” them for more autographs AFTER the game as well !

Ernie Banks grew up in Dallas, Texas; was a star football, basketball, and track and field athlete, in addition to, baseball, and got to the “bigs” in a way so many black players did in the early 50s…

…by way of the Negro Leagues…riding the buses to and from games….

…until another Negro League sports legend, Cool Papa Bell…

…would be responsible for signing him to a professional contract with the Kansas City Monarchs.

Bell would also eventually be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 as one of the greatest players in Negro League history.

The immortal Hall of Famer, Satchel Paige….

…once said of “Cool Papa” as to his blazing speed…

“One time he hit a line drive right past my ear. I turned around and saw the ball hit him sliding into second.”

Ernie would serve his nation in the Army, and after being honorably discharged, returned to the Monarchs for one season, when a man named P.K. Wrigley came calling in 1953 with an offer to play for the Chicago Cubs….where he would remain “a Cub” for the next 19 years until he retired in 1971.

It was in that 19 year span from my young age of 8, through high school, college, and eventually into the working world, that I would learn to love and appreciate this man for his abilities ON and OFF the field.

He was the most beloved player to ever play for the Chicago Cubs….for so many reasons !

Of course in addition to his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977…his first year of eligibility…. there were his 512 home runs which places him #22 on the all-time home run list (he was #8 when he retired…well before the era of performance enhancing drugs); the only player to receive 2 consecutive back-to-back MVP awards in 1958 and 1959; was named to 11 All-Star teams; won a golden glove award in 1960 for his play at shortstop before moving to first base in 1962; and appeared in 1,259 games….

…culminating with every Cub fan having May 12, 1970 etched in their memory !

All this….playing for a team that rarely finished above the .500 mark, and NEVER in a World Series during the 19 years.

Did that ever change the attitude of Ernie Banks?

Never…..that’s why he will always be affectionately known as …

After receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2013…..Ernie’s humility continued…

But my “Ernie” story doesn’t end with his playing days.

The best…and most memorable of them all….was in 1972.

He was retired and I had been in my third year in the insurance business working for Aetna Life in downtown Chicago.

Next door to the Aetna office was a doctor’s office, Dr. Alex Conway, who did insurance physicals for a living….and between both of the offices…was the men’s room.

I “had to go” and at the same time, Ernie was completing an insurance exam taking a “specimen”….standing IMMEDIATELY TO MY LEFT at the urinal !

For you guys out there, have you ever had that uncomfortable feeling that you recognize the guy “going” next to you….and don’t want to make it obvious that you’re looking at him…for various reasons ?

Well…I couldn’t resist ! I looked at him and asked if he was Ernie Banks and sure as can be…he was, and as our eyes locked…. he looked at me and said…..

“I’d shake your hand but it’s busy right now!”

We talked for a few moments…asking me my name and what I did and where I worked…he seemed to really CARE about a FAN….no matter what their age.

That was Ernie Banks…

….but that IS NOT THE END OF THE STORY !

Ernie went back to complete his exam, and I went back to my office….smiling….in awe…realizing no one would ever believe me !

15 minutes later, our receptionist called me to come to the front counter of the office….that I had a visitor who wished to see me.

I dashed away from my desk to the front of the office and low and behold….it was ERNIE BANKS !

He had told the receptionist that he was in the neighborhood, and wanted to say HI TO HIS PAL, DICK ARENDT !

What I will never forget about that day was that office of over 100 people….all running up to the counter….with the phones ringing and ringing…and no one answering them !

Everyone wanted to meet Ernie Banks !

He came back to my office, and gave me a wink…

….we talked for a few moments, and as he left, I looked at him, and told him that was the greatest act of kindness any one could have ever shown a kid….no matter how old the “kid” was at the time….

…that from the moment I first witnessed the great game of baseball, he was not only a hero to an 8 year old kid….but to a 25 year old one as well !

The office staff never looked at me in the same manner after that….after all….ERNIE BANKS CAME TO SAY HI TO ME !

Ernie Banks was voted the most beloved Cub player in Chicago Cubs history…and for good reason….not just for his play, but for his annual words of wisdom…

“The Cubs are due in sixty-two.”
“The Cubs are gonna shine in sixty-nine.”

“The only way to prove that you’re a good sport is to lose.”

“The riches of the game are in the thrills, not the money.”

But the most memorable of all….

“Let’s Play Two”

…and the song every Cub fan has learned to love while thinking of old number “14” in his Cubby blue…

Thank you Ernie….thank you for allowing me to relive moments of my life that YOU were a part of….

…those innocent moments I will always cherish…

You may be in Baseball’s Hall of Fame….

…but you’ll forever be in mine for reasons well beyond the diamond !

Dick Arendt

Ernie Banks, thank you,! You are,what human beings should be!

I was twelve when Ernie Banks joined the Cubs, along with Gene Baker. My brother was a Dodger fan, in part because of Jackie Robinson and their role in bringing integration to baseball (the Dodgers had also won the pennant the previous year). Now the Cubs were integrated too. He was a promising young player, with hints of the greatness that was to come. He became the hero of my youth.

In the sixties, when I was grown, one of the Chicago papers ( I think it was the Sun-Times) ran a promotion in which a poster of Ernie was folded into the paper. To advertise this, newsdealers were given a large cardboard poster of the same pose. Vernon, the 10-year-old son of a friend had wheedled the proprietor of his local newsstand into giving it to him. I traded him something and I still have that poster, fifty years later.

If everyone’s heart and spirit were as Ernie’s there would be peace world wide
R.I.P

Jimmy and I went down to Wrigley Saturady…we had planned on going anyway to see whats happening with the reconstruction but instead we celebrated along with many others, Ernie Banks. My favorite memory of Ernie? At one of the early Cubs Conventions, mom Jill Holly Jimmy and I were going up the escalator to get to another escalator to get to the elevator (I know) to get to our room. It was after a great Saturday spent with our Cubs and we were laughing and talking. Behind me I hear “You having a great Time” and I don’t pay attention, thinking he is talking to someone else. Then I hear it again and still don’t pay attention…and then he got my attention! I get gently whacked on the arm and I hear the question again “Are you having a great time” and I look and its Ernie Banks….and he talked with us all the way to that elevator. What a great guy he was. He will be missed. I bet they are playing two today……..

My all time favorite. I’ll never forget my first game when I was about 7 and Ernie was a shortstop and hit a home run in the game. I always loved the rhymes he made up each year with his optimistic outlook on how the Cubs would be good that year and of course the “Let’s play 2”. I have a #14 jersey that my nephew bought me for my birthday one year, knowing that Ernie was his aunt’s favorite even though Ernie had long been retired. I feel like I lost a family member and cried when I heard the news. My condolences to his family. He will be missed by all his fans as well as those who knew him personally. He was truly loved. A great player. A great personality. A great man. Rest in peace, Mr. Cub.

I grew up watching the Cubs on WGN when they televised every game. Ernie was such a big part of those great years. He was so smooth, both at the plate and in the field, whether at shortstop or first base. And the media loved to write and talk about him. Jack Brickhouse and Vince Lloyd on WGN couldn’t say enough nice about him and deservedly so. The game of baseball and Cubs fans everywhere have lost not only a great player but, equally, a great man. Now, Mr. Cub can eternally “play two” with Brickhouse, Lloyd, Harry Caray, Ron Santo, and many others on a sunny day at the corner of Clark and Addison.

Ernie, you were my fathers favorite ball player of all time! In Heaven – Let’s Play 2! My condolences to all of Ernie’s family and friends. Let’s GO CUBS and WIN the World Series this year for ERNIE!

I’m a long time Giants fan, and see Willie Mays as their all time icon. It has always seemed to me that compared to Mays, Aaron, Mantle and other superstars of that era Ernie Banks has always been underrated. I’m not sure why, he was in a major market. Maybe it’s the struggles the Cubs have had. He was a great player and a great person. It’s very sad to see him go.

Ernie, you were my fathers favorite ball player of all time! In Heaven – Let’s Play 2! My condolences to all of Ernie’s family and friends.

I am a lifelong Cardinal fan, but was fortunate enough to attend many Cub-Cardinal games at Busch Stadium with my beloved grandfather, a lifelong Cub fan, in the 60s. We lived 200 miles from Chicago, so couldn’t get WGN until cable became available in our town. I had watched Games of the Week involving the Cubs when Ernie played shortstop, which he manned with distinction, but most of the games we saw at St. Louis were played after he switched to first, where he was also outstanding. I always thought the fact that the Cubs earned the lifelong affection and loyalty of this great player and man was their finest testament and even this Cards’ fan was disappointed that their great 1969 team didn’t win it all, as they were certainly capable of doing. Perhaps somewhere in an alternate timeline, history records that the Cubs came from behind to nip the Mets at the wire, then defeated the Orioles in the World Series, delighting Ernie, Ron Santo, my grandfather and millions of other Cub fans, some of whom lived long lives without ever witnessing that happy outcome to a season. It would be great if that had happened while they were still with us, but the Cubs appear, at long last, to be approaching pennant-contender status again. Fitting if they win it all this year and, during the season, play an old-fashioned doubleheader on a designated Ernie Banks Memorial Day.

At age 12, our Little League team won the Nebraska state championship and went to Brookfield, IL for the eight state regional for a trip to Williamsport. Mr. Cub Ernie Banks came to a luncheon for the players and his inspiring presence has remained with me since 1973. I have continued my love and passion for the game ever since.

To the CUBS nation: my condolences and prayers to Ernie Banks family, CUBS organization and the Chicago community. He was a great MLB ambassador as his loss will be felt not just in Chicago but throughtout the MLB commnity. As a Cardinal fan, I empathize with your loss and I know your organization shall use the spirit of his competitive edge to solidify a successful season just as my community and team rallied behind Mr Musial’s spirit. Yes, he held the same iconic status as Stan Musial. RIP Mr Ernie Banks.

I will never forget the first time I met Ernie when I was 13, at the Cubs Convention. Although surrounded and approached by swarms of people, took the time to talk with each person, sign autographs for everyone, as well as take pictures. This was also the first time I realized, and saw his genuine love for the games, and all members of the Cubs family, especially is fans.

RIP Ernie, we will miss you, and thank you for the memories.

I met Ernie Banks at a charity golf outing in my small northwestern Illinois hometown in the late ’90s. A friend and I were volunteering at the event. We spoke a few different times during the day, and like everyone else mourning him today has said, he was unbelievably kind, upbeat and generous. One of the funnier moments was when he told my friend and me that we could cook dinner for him and Michael Jordan someday. To be as successful as he was and to still be so accessible and kind is something I hope others will be inspired by…I know I am.

i was a young kid during Mr.Cubs last few years playing. I always loved seeing his enthusiasm. I met him twice as an adult and never met a nicer person. The nicest thing I can say about him is that I tell my son to strive to have his humor, positive attitude, humbleness and kindness towards others. He truly was a wonderful person and will be missed by millions.

Speechless……………………………………..

As a Cubs fan who had the privilege of getting the chance to watch Ernie Banks from the beginning of his career to the end — and then got the chance to meet him in person — his passing is horribly sad. Ernie was a great person, and he put that ahead of being a great baseball player. Today we all got a little older, and a bit of the sun’s shine has dimmed.

I LOVE Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub (my all-time favorite Cub and one of my all-time favorite people ever)… I am a baby boomer, attended a ton of games at Wrigley during that fateful ’69 season… was at the game in 1970 when he hit #499… great memories.. he was a wonderful man and a beautiful example of the sheer power of eternal optimism and humanitarianism.. had nothing but kind words for everybody, always a smile, always a ‘great day’ (infectious) and he demonstrated BY EXAMPLE all of his life that a truly great sportsman can also be a genuinely nice guy, never mean. There may never be another athlete like him. Ernie, to me, symbolizes true greatness.

I’m a Chicago Cubs fan in living in California and had the honor of meeting Ernie Banks on the day of my college graduation. Greatest Day !!! RIP.

When I was seven or eight, my dad would adjust the rabbit ears so that he could watch the Cubs on WGN. I got interested. I would yell: “Let Ernie pinch hit for this guy!!! “. Over and over I would yell this!!! Ernie was already playing in the game!!! In my teen years, I had a girlfriend. She would just have to wait for me at the park so I could finish the Cub game that day. Since she did, I decided she was a “keeper” and married her a few years later!!! She now has a cell phone and I can remember her number because it starts with 512…….. I still can’t remember our anniversary or her birthday!!! We moved and now live near Pittsburgh. Some Cub fans are shocked when an old man gives them a little picture with Ernie on one side and Ronnie on the other. That old man is 68 now, and he is sitting here with tears in his eyes. I sign all my gmails the way I am going to sign this. E

He was without a doubt my favorite… I was taken upstairs away from the seats for a few moments as a little girl when I cried because he was hit with a bad pitch… He was fine, of course… He remained my favorite my whole life and I cried last night. Class act, lovely man, great ball player…

R.I.P. Mr. Cub. The greatest Cub ever to play the game and a true gentleman as well.

Being from the Bronx in the 50’s I was supposed to be a yankee fan But once I saw Ernie Banks play,I became a cub fan. Not easy in NY with NY icons Mantle and Mays playing. While they were great ballplayers,there was something about Ernie Banks,that I had to root for him and the Cubs. All these years later,my love for the Cubs has not diminished. There is something magical about hearing the name Ernie Banks. I will miss him.

My favorite player as a kid and FAVORITE Cubbie of All Time and a pretty damn good human being! RIP MR. CUB

My two major memories of Mr. Cub…the focus of each at bat,with those fingers wrapping and unwrapping the handle of the bat, and Jack Brickhouse yelling hey-hey when Ernie homered…especially #500 !!!! The Cubs will surely dedicate this season to you Mr. Cub.

I am very sad to hear of the passing of my boyhood idol. Ernie was just as nice in person. I will miss him greatly

I never knew Ernie even the slightest but I felt he embodied what it was like to be a member of the Chicago Cubs Nation. Respect, kindness and determination are all his traits that we could strive to have within ourselves. I’m so sad to hear of his passing but I know him and Santo will be having a catch and a laugh.

ernie was one of a kind. I still remember thae days of santo at third,kessinger at short,beckert at second and ernie at first. fergie on teh mound picthing to randy hundley..

the best tribute the cubs can do for ernie (and ronnie) would be to raise the national league pennat over wrigley field,followed by a world championship..

EAMUS CATULI

You can tell Ernie is in Heaven right now and looking down on us. The sun is shining.

Rip Mr. CUBS. You are 1 of the greatest in Mlb HISTORY N the greatest Cubs.

Growing up as a Cubs fan, Ernie Banks was the man. I was never able to meet him in person but a man like that can’t be forgotten. However, I was fortunate to see him take the stage at Pearl Jam’s Wrigley gig. Even the White Sox fans showed respect, it was a great time! I hope he’s playin at the field of dreams now

At spring training, fans would gather at the fence or rail and call to players to come over and sign something. But when Mr. Cub stepped onto the field, they were silent. That was their way of showing their respect.

With the enthusiasm for this years Cubs club. It is a sad note to have Mr Cub not being able to share the fun. He will be greatly missed. He was also my hero,

I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, so Ernie and Ron quickly became my favorite players. Ernie was such a great sportsman. He had such a positive attitude and always gave his best. We got a cat in 2013 and the female we had chosen wasn’t available when we went back. I quickly had to think of a male name. The first name that came to mind was Ernie. He was named after the beloved Mr. Cub.

Ernie Banks, baseball, class – synonymous! He represented a time when baseball, for those of us watching and listening, was truly a game – not just a business. He was and forever shall be the Cubs and those who were blessed to share his time on earth shall forever miss him.

My first MLB game I went to was Aug 17,1966 at Connie Mack Stadium. Ernie came on as a PH and smacked a 3 run homer to win the game 5-3 for the Cubs! RIP Ernie Banks #letsplaytwo

In 2006, I was on a business trip to Las Vegas. While waiting for my bags at the baggage carousel, I noticed a man that looked a lot like Ernie Banks doing the same at the carousel next to mine. After staring for a few minutes and ultimately determining it was Ernie, I got my bags and awkwardly went up to Ernie to say hello. He was kind and gracious. After talking to him for a few minutes, He asked me what I did for a living and if I had a business card. Thinking that was the end of a great experience for this lifelong Cubs fan, I went on my way with a great story for my friends. A few months later, I received a call at work and it was Ernie. We just chatted about baseball, the Cubs and my work for about 30 minutes. It was a surreal experience and it left me with a fond memory of Ernie. I grew up with the mid-80’s Cubs of Sandberg, Sutcliffe, Durham etc., so I never got to see Ernie play. He is my favorite Cub of all time because of the kindness and general interest that he showed this stranger in 2006. We lost a great Cub, but a greater human being.

I’ve shed more than a few tears this morning as I read what people have to say about my baseball hero Ernie Banks. I spent my early youth in suburban Chicago watching Ernie play at Wrigley Field and on WGN TV. I was watching the game on TV the day he was involved as the short stop in a bizarre play at second base that involved two baseballs in play at the same time. If memory serves me right, the runner was called out even though there was some question as to whether the ball was really the right ball! Years later, I met him in the dugout at Wrigley Field when I was just starting my journalistic career as a sports writer. A few years ago, I met him again on Ernie Banks Night at a Peoria Chiefs baseball game. He signed one of my big pictures of him, too. Throughout the years I’ve kept dozens of clippings about him and his career in scrapbooks. I also have several baseball cards of him. When I was visiting my sister in Ohio last fall, we visited a store in Amish country and lo and behold, what did I first see in a box of baseball cards? A baseball card of Ernie right in the middle of Amish country! Needless to say, I bought it and a few other Cub-related baseball cards. Suffice it to say, I feel a part of me has died. What a shame he – and his teammate Ron Santo – never got to see the Cubs play in a World Series – or play in one for that matter. Of my three baseball idols – Banks, Santo and Billy Williams – only one is left. How sad. My condolences to Ernie’s family. I’ll always treasure my memories of seeing him play in person, on TV after his playing career and at the game in Peoria.

Ironically Mr. Cub died on my sons birthday, Elias Banks Clendenning. I have a picture of Ernie holding Elias when he was 2 and he signed a ball for him. R.I.H. You will be missed by many. I wish you could’ve got to see a the Cubs win a WS in your lifetime.

My father and grandfather were life long Chicago Cub fans and first shared Cubs baseball with me as a kid at Wrigley Field in the 60’s. I’m forever grateful to both of them for giving me the gift of watching Ernie Banks play baseball and make sports history before my eyes. Thanks for giving our Chicago Cubs family many great memories, “Mr. Cub.”

Here’s to a true gentleman and lover of our game. Today, all baseball fans are Cubs Fans. RIP Mr. Cub.

Yes It does. It has to a Real Doubleheader not a Day Night one.

Ernie Banks tribute day MUST be a double header!

Ernie Banks was so sweet to me meeting him as a little girl too shy to shake his hand. His positive attitude, smile & great talent as a baseball player is what I will remember most. Come on Cubs, let’s do it for Mr. Cub this season!!!

He was always a class act his optimism was contagious. He would be there to sing the seventh-inning stretch and the Cubs could be losing 20 to nothing and he still felt like they could come back. I have one Cubs jersey and it is number 14. I’ll cherish it forever. Rest in peace. #letsplaytwo

Being 31 I never saw him play but you know and appreciate the history of your favorite team. Also, he was my grandmothers favorite.
Her and I are at the Cubs Convention several years back waiting in line for him. Time was running short and we were not near the front. It created some anxiousness in me as he seemed to talk and engage in everyone for quite a while. But when his time came to go he stayed. And stayed. And stayed.
We made it up there over an hour after he was scheduled to leave. And he was the nicest athlete and one of the nicest people I met. He talked to us, asked me what position I played and then asked if he could have a dance with the pretty lady (my grandmother) I was with. And danced with her on stage. It was such a thrill for the both of us.
When she passed I put that photo up on a memorial board – it was her favorite photo. And I know when the Cuba win it all I’d shed several years for I know how much she loved them. Now I will shed a few more knowing how much Mr. Cub loved them too.

As a young baseball player in the late 60 ‘ s and early 70’ s Ernie was the man. Class act played hard, beloved by his teammates and most of all carried himself as a pro on and off the field. I fought for #14 as a child to be like him. It was “be like Ernie” way before mike.

Mr. Cub rest in peace.

In 1955 my dad took me to see my first MLB game at Wrigley. I became a Die Hard Cubs fan that day. My favorite Cubs’ player, Ernie Banks. As a youngster I emulated his batting stance and wore “14.” I met Ernie on a few occasions through the Emil Verban Society. He was a joy to be around. I currently play senior baseball and have been a high school varsity baseball coach for the past 13 years. My uniform number…”14.” Ernie, rest in peace and “play two” inside the Pearly Gates. I truly miss you already.

As a third generation Cubs fan, I am deeply saddened at his passing. Condolences to family and friends. Seeing him and Billy Williams play at Wrigley when I was a kid was absolutely magical. His intrepid smile and warm heart kept me believing that the Cubs will shine in ’69 and beyond.

When you think of the Cubs, you can’t help but think of the great Ernie Banks. I met him at a Cubs Convention once and he couldn’t of been friendlier to me. I will miss his presence at the ballpark. My condolences to his family. RIP “Mr Cub”

In 1967, my dad took me to my first Cubs game, and Ernie Banks hit a home run. He hit another 511 of them before and after in a career that took him from breaking the Cubs’ color barrier to being the greatest player in franchise history

No matter how bleak things looked, he always wanted to play two. He believed as we all did, the Cubs would be great in ’68, the Cubs would shine in ’69, the Cubs would glow in 7-0.

And in the end, the joy he brought to a game not only had kids like me all want to wear #14 when we played ball (I still do), but the sunshine that followed him made fans of other teams stand and cheer.

Thanks for it all Bingo. Let’s play two.

I will never forget the kindness that Ernie showed me as a child. I was taken to a spring training game in 1978 or 79 to watch the Cubs in Scottsdale, Az.

I watched the game in a lot of excitement and after it was over my Grandfather pointed Ernie out who was getting in a caddy with a friend. My Grandfather said run over and say hi. I ran over as they started to drive away. One of them saw me and the car stopped. Ernie seemed more excited to say hi to me then me to him. He signed my program and said a few more words and my love of the Cubs grew and my respect for Ernie became complete.

I am hoping that he is enjoying baseball on his own Field of Dreams.

Love you Ernie

Alan Fuhrmark

At the Cubs Convention in 2005 I met him and got his autograph. I told him that day that the Cubs would strive and thrive in 05. He asked me what did I say and then I repeated it. Ernie with that great smile said to me he liked it and would use it. A few days later on Chicago Tonight sure enough he did. RIP to a class act and a very gracious man. Thank you Mr. Cub for all the great memories.

My grandfather loved baseball. Every Sunday we would watch the Cubs and have a radio on for the Cardinals and a radio on for the White Sox. Ernie Banks was one of his favorite players. He taught me that everything I do in life, I should model Ernie’s work ethic and attitude.

I’m 15. I’m volunteering as a Marshal at The Crosby Celebrity golf tournament that used to be played in my hometown at Bermuda Run CC, and it’s my second year doing this. Met lots of coaches, athletes, actors, singers, comedians, and musicians as a result. One particular Friday, some bad weather rolls through and play gets suspended. Because my mom’s best friend’s husband is one of the event organizers, I have an all access badge and head to the clubhouse for shelter. I’m sure all the other volunteers had to go to the volunteer tent. I walk in the clubhouse, and there is an enormous lunch buffet and tournament participants and officials are every where. I sort of nervously head for the food with my all-access badge displayed on top of my orange shirt, which all of us volunteers are required to wear. Im also wearing my Chicago Cubs hat. I’m putting the bacon bits and ranch dressing on my salad and turn around to head to a table to devour my meal. Who is standing right in front of me? Ernie Banks. Mr. Cub himself. He sees my hat. Nods. Smiles. Sticks out his hand and shakes mine. Then says to me “Friend, may I join you for lunch?” I’m not sure how the words ” yes sir” rolled off my tongue, and I’m not sure how I managed to speak for the next 45 minutes with Ernie Banks sitting right in front of me, enjoying a meal together because Mother Nature was a little angry that day. It was as glorious an afternoon as you might expect for a 15 – year old kid who had been a Cubs fan since he started watching baseball. I’d come home from school in the afternoon and their games would be on TV because we had WGN. Instead of watching cartoons, I was watching the Cubs when they were on. Mr. Banks retired well before, so I never saw him play. But from reading about him and familiarizing myself in all things Cubs, I felt like I knew him. And that’s exactly the way he made me feel during our chance lunch encounter that day. I hung on his every word. I was intoxicated by his smile and his charm and his perspective on life and baseball. I don’t think you could ask for much more in 45 minutes. Thanks Mr. Banks (though he insisted I just call him Ernie). You will forever be my all-timer. RIP. ‪#‎LETSPLAYTWO‬

With the passing of Mr. Cub I lost a big part of my childhood. We all tried to imitate Ernie’s batting stance. Right elbow raised up and fingers constantly moving on the bat handle. If you opened up a five cent pack of Topps and got his card your day was made. More important than being an all-time great ballplayer he was a great human being. If any current Cubs read this, win the big one for Mr. Cub ! He will be watching and you will make his dream come true. Rest in peace Ernie from all your fans at Cleveland Ave. playground where we all took turns trying to “be” you many years ago.

I know if there is a heaven Ernie and Ronnie are playing catch.
#14 forever

So sad to hear about the loss of a true legend! Thank you Mr. Banks for all the great memories!

I read somewhere that his dream was to hit three homers in the 7th game of the world series in Wrigley Field. I think that is every boy’s dream, it was certainly mine. I think that’s what explains the emotion. I hope Ronnie and Ernie will be able to smile from heaven one day soon. Someday we’ll go all the way. Go Cubs!

It is a great lose to baseball all over the world. He was truly one of the greatest baseball players of all time. And what made him so special is that he would give you the shirt off his back if needed. I did not know him but admired him when I was growing up in the 60’s. He was one of those loyal players that wanted to play for one team and one team only, which is very hard to find now.

Thank you Mr. Cub for everything. Your class and smile will live on forever in the hearts of Cub fans. I was honored to see you play in person at Wrigley. I am just heartbrokern. You were my first sports idol and I measured the rest to your standards.

You will always be remembered!

Now it’s time for those we know that have passed to see Ernie again.
My favorite angel in the infield.

Reblogged this on MLB.com Blogs Central and commented:

Saddened to hear we lost the great Ernie Banks. Losing MLB legends always hits so hard because they are so loved by so many. I cherish every time I saw his famous smile, and mostly I just remember growing up in a time when his line in a newspaper box score was a fact of life.

Thank You Mr. Banks for everything you gave to Cubs fans, baseball fans and the city of Chicago. Your passion and enthusiasm not only for baseball but in life will live forever and is a goal all of us need to try and live by.

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