Monday, January 26, 2015

Every Day is Doubleheader Day

I've never worked a day in my life.
- Ernie Banks

I awoke early Saturday morning to the news that Ernie Banks, the legendary Chicago Cub, had died.  Mr. Cub - as he was deservedly and affectionately known by one of the best fan bases in all of sports - was eighty-three.  

Ernie Banks played nineteen seasons in the big leagues.  He was a Cub from mid-September 1953 until the final out on the season's final day in 1971.  In his nineteen years as a Cub, he never had a chance to play a single post-season game.  The team's lack of success was in contradiction to Banks' own.  He won back-to-back MVP awards in 1958 and 1959.  He had four seasons in which he hit forty or more home runs and eight seasons in which he drove in one hundred or more runs.  He retired with 512 home runs and 1,636 runs batted in.  

No player in Major League history has played more regular season games than Banks did (2,858) without playing a single post-season inning.  If, however, you are of the opinion that made him something other than a stone-cold winner, then you are mistaken.  One has to search long and hard to find an American athlete as beloved in the town where he played his games four and one half decades after he last played as he was when he said his goodbyes as a player.  Ernie Banks was the one.   

As a betting man, I am more than a little tempted to put down a bet on the Cubs to win the 2015 World Series.  The Cubbies have improved themselves substantially this off-season (something that my Yankees have curiously opted to not do).  And now?  Now they shall play not with a chip on their shoulder but with the smiling visage of Mr. Cub.  


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