Chicago Cubs: March Madness comes down to Ron Santo v. Ernie Banks
Chicago Cubs: No surprise these jerseys are retired
As discussed in the semi-final round, both Banks and Santo played well before I was even born. However, I grew up hearing stories about how great these guys were and always heard about the connection they always seemed to have with the fans. Despite not seeing the playoffs during their time as Cubs, these guys are the most beloved ballplayers in baseball history outside of maybe Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Mickey Mantle. Maybe I grew up watching baseball in the wrong era…
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There was something about the way Banks and Santo went about their business that enraptured fans, making them household names and favorite players all over Chicagoland. There was a blue-collar mentality that both seemed to possess despite their Hall of Fame ability and skill, and they always seemed to love playing the game of baseball.
Maybe it’s because it was a different era, but these are guys known for requesting more games on the same day (Ernie’s famous “let’s play two”), and clicking their heels a la Dorothy and the Scarecrow after wins.
Both Santo and Banks were enshrined in Cooperstown, though Banks made it a lot more quickly and easily than did Santo. Both have their jersey numbers retired and hanging out by the scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and both have sadly passed from this earth in the past decade. It’s a shame neither of them could make it to 2016 to see the Cubs win a pennant and World Series, but they had to know the “curse” was bound to end sooner or later.
Here’s how they stack up against one another statistically: