“Mr. Cub” as he is called. Nineteen years in a major league uniform, all with the Chicago Cubs. Career home runs 512, first uniform (#14) by the Chicago Cubs to be retired, back to back National League MVP’s (1958, and 1959) and 11 time all star. Countless number of records held by a Cubbie including games played (2528), at bats (9421) and total bases (4706). Banks was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977 in his first year of eligibility. Banks, one of the greatest baseball players of all time, he is “Mr. Cub”.
The 1971 Topps (#525) is one of my favorite Banks cards for many reasons. The black border card and signature make for a nice framed shot of Ernest Banks. His last official Topps card he looks as anxious to swing the bat as ever. His mouth is open as if talking to us and sharing what he is most famous for saying: “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame . . . Let’s play two”. He loved the game so much, loved Wrigley Field and just wanted to play baseball every day.
The back of this card has another photo of Banks smiling – the players today should love the game as much as Banks did (sorry about that editorial concerning today’s players). The eleven stats include total bases and stolen bases and this card shares Banks career totals of 509 homeruns (he played briefly in 1971 playing in only 39 games and hitting 3 HR’s).
The year was 1969, opening day and Banks was beginning his seventeenth year as a Chicago Cub. The Cubs had high hopes for this year as did Banks. His first two at bats were homeruns and this season was to be special . . . . the highs and lows to come made 1969 a year most will never forget.
Banks hit his 500th home run on May 12, 1970 – just four days before my 10th birthday. Four summers later began my summer work at the Glencoe Golf Course and I remember shaking his hand, cleaning his golf clubs and watching him . . . always smiling, always happy, always “Mr. Cub”.
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