I was aware of the name Ernie Banks in baseball but didn’t know much about him. He was only a Hall Of Famer, All-Century Team Shortstop, played in 14 All-Star games, won two MVP’s, a Gold Glove winner and led the Majors twice in home runs and RBIs. Not to shabby for a kid from the projects in Dallas.
The book starts with his early life in Dallas with the many kids his parents kept having. He liked to play sports and was good at football and baseball. He was spotted early and got signed to minor leagues and played in the Negro league. Getting into the big time was hard as many teams didn’t want black players. When that changed he got with the Cubs and spent 14 his whole career there. He made okay money for the times. Unfortunately the teams for the most part sucked. They had some quality players but just never had good records until one year it seemed everything was coming together but they they faded. It also follows his personal life, his three marriages and what it was like being in the majors and with the Cubs.
The book also looks at the Cubs teams and management and how they ran things. Great behind the scenes interviews and stories of legendary players, games and life as a Cub. One story I never knew was how the team owner decided that a manager wasn’t necessary and rotated a few different men to coach throughout the season (with horrible results).
Author Ron Rapoport has done an awesome job of research, interviews and just finding out as much as he could about Ernie and the Cubs. He was a sports columnist for over 20 years for the Chicago Sun-Times so he knows of what he writes. If you’re into sports biographies, this one on Mr. Cub is right up there with the best of them.
You can pick it up in stores on Tuesday, March 26th.
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