Ernie Banks – a motivating factor for this year’s Chicago Cubs?


“Win one for the Gipper!” You’ve probably heard that quote more times than you care to count. The quote I prefer comes from Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks.

“The only way to prove you’re a good sport is to lose.”

I’m not sure what the quote was in reference to, but it does have a lot of meaning – how much meaning will it have to this year’s Chicago Cubs team?

It’s a standard practice within sports that when one legend passes away the current team will in some way do something to honor the memory of their fallen hero. Usually, a patch with the number of player will be worn; I’d expect that to happen with the Cubs but I also expect a lot more. I expect this Cubs team to make this season all about honoring Mr. Cub and what better way to honor Ernie Banks then by winning.

Now to say that the Cubs will now go out there and win the World Series will come off as a bit much I know, and that is not what I’m aiming for with this commentary. But I can see this Cubs team being more focused, more serious about every at bat, every pitch and every game. More specifically, I can see first baseman Anthony Rizzo taking on even more responsibility and more of the burden as the new leader of a very young Cubs team.

You’ve already seen signs of Rizzo doing that much with his prediction of the Cubs winning the National League Central. Bold? Yes, but you could tell he was confident with that statement. He didn’t hesitate, there wasn’t a pause in his voice – it was a clear, bold, and to-the-point statement. I think he will take a lot of what Banks said and believed about baseball and the Cubs and carry it on to this year’s club.

Rizzo will be the leader of this team both on and off the field. He will bring the winning attitude to this Cubs team, the same winning attitude that Mr. Cub carried with him every year before the season started as he believed the Cubs would go “all the way.”  Rizzo has echoed that same belief and the young slugger is one, I think, who will do everything in his power to make sure everyone else also believes that.

More from Chicago Cubs News

I truly feel that from the very top of the Cubs organization, the spirit and energy of Banks will be running through everyone and it will have a trickle down effect to the players on the field.  There will be extra motivation this season to do something special – because that is exactly what Ernie Banks was to all of us and to the Chicago Cubs.

Ernie Banks was much more than just a legend – he, like Ron Santo, was everything that Chicago and the Chicago Cubs are all about. They embraced the city and fans and loved them like no other players could love their fans and we all loved them back.

You’re starting to see some of that passion that Mr. Cub showed in Rizzo specifically, I think you’ll also see it with Jorge Soler soon enough. This team may not win it all this year but every time Wrigley raises the “W” flag, you can bet each pull of the rope to raise it is a salute to Mr. Cub and he will be smiling back looking down from above when that time comes to keep that flag up for the World Series champions.