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Mr. Cub could have instead been Mr. Sox

By Mark Liptak
Posted Monday, January 26th

Here’s something that’ll make a Cub fan choke... if not for circumstances, Ernie Banks, the famed “Mr. Cub,” might never have played a game for the North Side. Instead Banks might have spent his career on the South Side and consequently gotten into a World Series...or two.

As to why Banks didn’t become a member of the White Sox, details are unclear but some facts are known and it appears the main reason was because of a personality conflict of two of the leading Sox figures of the 1950's, Frank “Trader” Lane and Paul Richards.


Banks statue goes
full circle in a way

By George Castle

The statue of Ernie Banks, returned to downtown Chicago’s Daley Plaza for a public memorial Jan. 28 after a restoration project in Michigan, has in a way come full circle.

Placed in the plaza with the famed Picasso statue, the Banks sculpture that normally greets fans near Wrigley Field's main entrance recalls the dedication of the Picasso on Aug. 15, 1967. Not everyone was pleased at the time by the indecipherable artwork. No explanation of what it signified was provided by its designer.

Chicago Alderman John Hoellen of the 47th Ward, a frequent antagonist of Mayor Richard J. Daley, in fact suggested instead of the Picasso, the city should have erected a statue of…Banks!



Countdown to 500 most joyous part
of Mr. Cub’s career

Ernie Banks 1931-2015.  Photo Credit Leo Bauby.

Photo Credit Leo Bauby.

By George Castle, CBM Historian
Posted on Saturday, January 24th

Pure joy.

All the retrospectives putout immediately after Ernie Banks’ death at 83 on January 23 focus on Mr. Cub’s unbridled enthusiasm for life, mostly in the 43 years after he played his final game.

What about the joy fans in Chicago and beyond took in Banks the ballplayer? Scores of Cubs rooters and others simply picked up Banks’ love of life by osmosis and ended up exulting in every career move – especially his pursuit of his 500th homer.

You’d have to be a Baby Boomer at the least to remember the hoopla and countdown to Banks reaching the vaunted measurement of career power prowess. Five-hundred homers was a spectacular sports achievement in the mid-20th century.

Only a couple of handfuls of big leaguers had reached the 500 mark by 1970: Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx and Eddie Mathews. Gifted sluggers like Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, Hank Greenberg, Ralph Kiner and Duke Snider never got to 500. It was not easy to hit a home run, and statistics were not watered down by a slew of outside factors.

Ten years into his Hall of Fame career that began late in 1953, Banks was regarded as the Cubs’ best-ever and acquired his Mr. Cub title. He was the most beloved Cub even though by the mid-1960s he typically ranked No. 3 in production in the team’s slugging threesome that started with Billy Williams and continued with Ron Santo. In 1963, Banks slipped to No. 5 in the batting order behind Williams and Santo, and that’s where he would work the remainder of his career.

But despite some bumps – an illness-marred year in ’63 and a subpar season in 1966 when Leo Durocher kept looking in vain for Banks’ replacement – Mr. Cub continued to climb the statistical ladder. By the start of a 1969 season for which most projected a contender at Wrigley Field, Banks had 474 homers.


Cubs Hype machine
into high gear

Woody Warm-Up
to Water Tower

A new year for
Chicago baseball

A multi-media celebration of Chicago’s own Double Duty Radcliffe

'Double Duty' Ted Radcliffe: Chicago's own Negro League superstar

Double Duty Ted Radcliffe was Chicago’s own Negro League superstar. Those who knew him and his work insist Duty would have been a star big-leaguer behind the plate and a very competent starting pitcher had the color line not been firmly entrenched in the prime of his career.

In connection with the DD Classic and as a permanent way to honor Duty, the Chicago Baseball Museum is presenting this special tribute to the great man and also assisted with the Double Duty exhibit at the DuSable Museum. On our 'Double Duty' microsite, we recount his long career with his own words, photos that show the ballplayer, the colorful personality and as a special treat, Duty’s own taped recollections from WGN-TV’s 1992 “Chicago American Giants” special.

Visit the 'Double Duty' microsite >>
Visit White Sox’ Double Duty Classic >>

Jack Brickhouse: Our man
for all sports seasons

Jack Brickhouse: Our man for all seasons

Jack Brickhouse enjoyed a life of firsts. He was the first voice heard on WGN-TV when it signed on 1948. He was the first Chicago voice heard on a trans-Atlantic satellite broadcast in 1962. He called eight no-hitters, six Gale Sayers touchdowns in one game and the better part of 45 runs scored in a 1979 Cubs-Phillies contest.

The Chicago Baseball Museum pays tribute to Brickhouse in this special Jack Brickhouse microsite at a time the Cubs are honoring him with a special bobblehead day, as part of their Wrigley Field 100th anniversary celebration. The website recalls different facets of Brickhouse’s life, including stories, photos from the collection of Pat Brickhouse, Jack’s wife, and a wide variety of video and audio highlights from his career.

Visit the Jack Brickhouse microsite >>
Chicago Tribune: Cubs will honor
Jack Brickhouse Friday >>

CBM assists Elmhurst Historical Museum with 'Chicago Civil Wars' Cubs/Sox exhibit

CBM assists Elmhurst Historical Museum with 'Chicago Civil Wars' Cubs/Sox exhibit

If you want to appropriately emphasize “civil wars,” then have drawings of opposing cannons in ballparks facing off at one end of your exhibit, then feature a giant photo of Michael Barrett landing a right hand on A.J. Pierzynski’s “grill” (thanks, Ed Farmer) at the opposite end.

Admission is free. For more information, call 630-833-1457.



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