Friday, January 23, 2015

Mr. Cub Ernie Banks RIP

2015 is shaping up to be one of the most morbid years and we are not even out of January yet.  Nothing more depressing to hear that Mr Cub Ernie Banks passed away on Friday at age 83. Nobody and I do mean nobody who ever wore the dreaded Cubs jersey was more dedicated than Mr. Banks and that the fact that Ernie never had the chance to go into post season with the dreaded Cubs even though the lineup had some of the most remember-able players, Glen Beckert, Don Kissinger, Ron Santo, sweet swinging Billy Williams, Randy Huntley, fireballer Fergie Jenkins, Ken Holtzman who threw a no hitter in 1969.  And of course Mr. Cub himself.  You know by now of the 1969 Cubs who streaked out to a 17 and half game lead over everybody, only to wilt at the end and the much despised New York Mets got hotter than hell in August and September, overtook the Cubs and roared away.  The hated Mets would defeat the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series later.  Basically Ernie Banks had to play on the most shittiest of Cubs squads in his tenure, including a 1962 season of  "the college of coaches" a revolving door of managers (including the late great Lou Brodreau who would be better known as the side kick to Vince Lloyd on the WGN radio broadcasts, now a thing of the past too).  But the 69 Cubs had the best of shot to make it postseason but Leo Dorescher would run the same 8 players into the ground and not with a platoon of players to relieve a Santo or Willie Smith or Billy Williams and overuse of Phil Regan, the stopper would be the unraveling of this ball club.  Of course the Miracle Collapse of the Cubs have been noted time and time and time again, one cannot overlook the fact that The Mets from game 43 onward would compile a unbelievable 82-39 record. (they started with an 18-21 record)  An 82-39 winning record will get anybody from the bottom or middle of the pack to streak away and the playoff.  Consider this:  The Mets swept The Atlanta Braves in 3 and took out the Baltimore Orioles in five games and finished with 89-40 record.  While history likes to scapegoat The Cubs in every way possible, from the Durham boot of the 1984 Padres playoffs, to the Steve  Bartman getting in the way of a missed foul ball by Moises Alou in 2003, the fact remains that San Diego was the better of the ball club in 84, The Florida Marlins was the better ballclub of the 2003 playoffs and by far The New York Mets were fucking unstoppable in 1969.  Black cats be dammed. An 89-40 record has nothing to do with Whiskers the black cat crossing The Cubs path.  The object has been win the last game of the season.

Getting back to subject, Mr Cub played 18 seasons and hit 512 HRs, a great feat coming from a short stop. His glory HR years were from 1955 to 1960 to which he hit 40 HRs or more all but one year.  He had a 614 hitting percentage while hitting 47 HRs and driving in 143 in 1958 his greatest year ever. Even on the most shitty Cubs teams of 1962, Banks hit 37 homers and drove in 104. Perhaps the overuse of him in 1969 came into play, Banks only played 72 games but still hitting 12 Homers the next year. After 1971 Banks retired. After retirement, Banks remained viable and was a Chicago institution appearing on WGN to do the news from time to time and being the main spokesman for anything related to The Cubs.  One of the most positive people on this planet ever, there was never a bad work spoken about Mr Cub.  A champion that never played on a championship team, that is Ernie Banks, the most likeable man I've ever known.