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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

It Is Ernie Banks Day On The Banks Of The Ohio

Mr. Cub Ernie Banks
A picture of Hall of Fame Chicago Cubs' player Ernie Banks is the Cubs' Media Guide.

It is appropriate because Banks, who passed away on January 23, was famous for "Let's play two."  The former shortstop and firstbaseman was so enthusiastic that he would say this whenever he entered the clubhouse.  Banks' number 14 has long since retired after a brilliant 19-year career, all with the Cubs.

In Banks' day doubleheaders were a once a week staple.  Teams would play doubleheaders on Sunday and use Monday to travel.  Now doubleheaders are used to make up games and the teams charge separate admissions by spacing them out in a day-night format.  In the old days kids could by a bleacher ticket for 75 cents, pack a cooler with drinks and sandwiches and spend five or six hours cheering for their team and chasing home run balls.

Today a rained out game from April 25 will be made up with a 6:10 pm start after the crowd from the scheduled 12:35 game is flushed from Great American Ball Park.

Banks is probably looking down with disdain but at least they are playing two games. In fact, since last nights 13-inning game ended after midnight, the Reds and Cubs will complete three games on this date.

Banks joined the Cubs in September of 1953 at age 22.

The native of Dallas, Texas played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues at the age of 19 after he was discovered playing fastpitch softball in his church league.  Banks' high school Booker T Washington didn't have a baseball team.

After serving in Germany with the 45th Anti-Artillary Battalion from Ft. Bliss during the Korean War, Banks returned to the Monarchs in 1953 but was signed by the Cubs in September 1953.

Banks played in 10 games, hitting .310 with two home runs and six RBI.

At the age of 25, Banks led the National League with 47 home runs as a shortstop. He moved to firstbase in 1961.
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Banks retired after the 1971 season, never having participated in the World Series. He hit 512 home runs in his career. That total is second to Sammy Sosa's 545 home runs.  Banks played in more Cubs' games (2,528),  had more at-bats (9,421), more total bases (4,706) and more extra-base hits (1,009) than any player in Cubs' history.

Hence the nickname, Mr. Cub.

Professionally edited by ML Schirmer
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