“Let’s Play Two!” – A tribute to Ernie Banks.

Banks Wrigley Field

When Ernie Banks died on January 23rd at the age of 83, baseball lost a hero, legend and a great ambassador for the game. Banks came up in the Negro Leagues, starting his professional career in 1950 with the Kansas City Monarchs and then signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1953, where he played until retiring in 1971. Even in retirement, Ernie Banks stayed close to the game, where he continued to stay affiliated with his beloved Cubs and the game of baseball.

The fact that Banks played in the Negro Leagues and spent his entire Major League career with one team makes him special and part of two special groups of professional ballplayers that are slowly disappearing as time passes by. This is sad on many levels. Ernie Banks loved baseball and his old saying of “It’s a great day for a ballgame, let’s play two!” will forever be repeated by those who love the game. I know it’s something that I’ll never stop quoting. This is for you, Mr. Cub. You were a good one.

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Ernie Banks Shortstop

There’s nothing really significant about this photo, but it may be my favorite on-field photo I’ve come across of Ernie Banks. The baggy old school jersey, the concentration on his face, the vintage ads on the wall behind him – it’s perfect.

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Ernie Banks Monarchs

A young Ernie Banks during his time with the Kansas City Monarchs. Not many photos of Banks from this era exist and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an action photo of him actually playing for the Monarchs, which is disappointing. Even though he played in the Negro Leagues during the post-segregation era of baseball, when much of the talent left for Major Leagues, it still would have been great to see Banks play for the Monarchs. Especially while managed by the legendary Buck O’Neil.

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Pete Rose & Ernie Banks

In 1961, Banks moved to first base from shortstop due to issues with an injured knee. It’s kinda odd because I, along with most people, generally think of him as a shortstop due to coming up at the position but he actually spent the entire second half of his career at first base. In any case, I love this color photo of Mr. Cub holding Pete Rose on at first base. Gotta love those stirrups…

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Banks Opening Day

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

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Ron Santo & Ernie Banks

I may not be a religious man and I have my doubts of an afterlife, but if one exists, I guarantee that Ron Santo and Ernie Banks are playing baseball together again in Chicago Cubs uniforms.

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Ernie Banks & Jackie Robinson

I can’t put into words how much I love this photo of these two former Negro Leaguers turned National League heroes in action. Ernie Banks and Jackie Robinson playing against each other are what baseball dreams are made of.

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~ by duaneharris19 on February 5, 2015.

One Response to ““Let’s Play Two!” – A tribute to Ernie Banks.”

  1. Very nice tribute. Every one of the photos of him in uniform is great.

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