The passing of Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks still weighs heavily on all Cubs fans and baseball fans alike. The Cubs have made plans for a number of tributes and special events throughout the year to honor Mr. Cub.
In their spring training opening game, the Cubs wore special hats with Banks’ No. 14 stitched on the front of the hat. The team will also wear a patch with his uniform number during the entire season. They also have the number mowed into the grass in center field of Sloan Park.
The Cubs will officially start the MLB season with the St. Louis Cardinals on April 5 – that night there will be a special commemorative pin for every fan in attendance.
It was also said that a number of other surprises will happen during the game to honor Banks and allow the fans to celebrate his life and legacy.
Tom Ricketts, Cubs’ chairman, told the Chicago Sun Times that Ernie’s legacy lives on at the Friendly Confines.
"“There is no level of recognition that can properly acknowledge how much Ernie Banks meant to this franchise and fan base. Collectively, we must ensure Mr. Cub’s legacy rightfully lives on at the Friendly Confines and with future generations of baseball fans.”"
I was thinking about some different ways the Cubs could pay tribute to the legend through the season. Some of the ideas I have:
Ernie Banks No. 14 day – Every Cubs player should wear the No. 14 in honor – after the game auction off each game worn jersey with proceeds going to a specific charity that Banks was close to. It could be Cubs Charities, or the Boy’s and Girl’s Club – any one that he was affiliated to or helped.
Picking a day would be difficult but even the 14th home game is an example or September 17th or 26th – the day he made his debut and his last game as a Cub.
This would probably have to get MLB approval to use a different jersey but I’m sure they would accommodate.
Some may say that using his number would be wrong because it is retired – I see that point. This would only be a one-time event and for a great cause.
A 500 home run ball give away – May 12, 1970, Mr. Cub hit his 500th HR. Why not on May 12 versus the New York Mets have a commemorative No. 500 ball give away or raffle to celebrate the historical day.
Let’s Play Two Day – A mandatory double-header in honor of the famous quote, “It’s a great day for a ball game, let’s play two!” This will be difficult with the schedule already set. You would have to have MLB agree and the other team agrees to this.
A double-header can be taxing on a team – it would have to be done right. Both teams would have to have the next day off and the game before would have to be an early start.
A Sunday would be a logical choice considering most Saturday games are early starts in Chicago and a lot of teams have Monday off.
So there are a few of my ideas of what could be done as a special tribute to our hero. There is other tributes that may be done – bobble head day, a local bank giving away Ernie Banks coin banks, even a sing like Ernie Banks when he sang his “The Cubs are on their way….” song.
I also think the Cubs will have a few times where a recording of him singing the seventh inning stretch will be replayed. Those were always great moments to see Mr. Cub at Wrigley Field.
I know whatever the Cubs decide to do; it will be done with the utmost class and respect. The organization is one of the best in all of sports and they will do some very wonderful things to celebrate the life of Mr. Cub Ernie Banks.