Felber: My favorite player, Ernie Banks

From SABR member Bill Felber at The National Pastime Museum on June 9, 2014:

Throughout the city of Chicago, boys of the late 1950s raced home from school on spring and early fall afternoons, hoping to catch the last few innings of that day’s Cubs game at Wrigley Field. It was an experience virtually unique to Chicago, since few other teams televised any of their home games, and those that did rarely played in the sunshine.

If they were lucky and the game hadn’t already ended, those boys—and probably a few girls—witnessed on their families’ grainy, black and white sets a triumph of their imaginations: the green grass and ivy springing to color, possibly (although not often enough) in concert with a Cubs victory. The game’s outcome rarely mattered, however, because those young Cubs fans worshipped the team itself, and particularly its star, shortstop Ernie Banks.

The greatness of Ernie Banks laid and still lies not merely in his statistics, although those are impressive: 512 home runs, two MVP awards (both for second division teams), two home run titles, and two RBI titles. Substantially more enduring and vital were the messages emanating from those TV screens every time he strode to the plate: baseball is fun; life is fun.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/my-favorite-player-ernie-banks

Originally published: June 10, 2014. Last Updated: June 10, 2014.