The baseball world and the 1968 set lost a legend this week.
While moving to Lakeland has slowly converted me to a Tigers fan, I grew up a Cubs fan and will always consider them my National League team. My childhood was spent idolizing Sandberg and then later Sosa. But no matter how much I looked up to these two players, those who had watched the game before me made sure that I knew one important fact – Ernie Banks would, without a doubt, always be Mr. Cub.
Honestly, I wish I had some sort of unique personal story to share with you today. Ernie spent all 19 of his Major League seasons with the Chicago Cubs, and it seems like everyone who met Mr. Cub had incredible things to say about him. While I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Cubs legends like Fergie Jenkins and Ryne Sandberg, I was never able to meet Ernie Banks.
Nevertheless, I have to pay my respects.
By this point, you’ve probably already seen some of the incredible tributes to Banks on television over the last couple of days. With that being said, I’ve decided to sign off with a clip of Ernie and my favorite band, Pearl Jam. As the story goes, lead vocalist Eddie Vedder grew up a huge Cubs fan, and Banks eventually encouraged him to write a song about his favorite team. The result was his single, “All the Way.”
Like a number of other Cubs fans, Banks always possessed an optimistic spirit regarding the team. Appropriately, one part of the song proclaims:
And here’s to the men and the legends we’ve known
Teaching us faith and giving us hope
United we stand and united we’ll fall
Down to our knees the day we win it all
So, in following the example of one of their own, Chicago fans will faithfully prepare for another season.
But to be honest, it just won’t be the same this year.
RIP Mr. Cub.