The Cubs announced plans to honor Ernie Banks during Spring Training, Opening Night at Wrigley Field and throughout the 2015.
Beginning in Spring Training and continuing throughout the 2015 season, the team will wear a commemorative No. 14 patch on both its home and away jerseys. The Cubs will open their Spring Training schedule by wearing No. 14 hats during both split squad games March 5, with additional acknowledgments planned for that day’s opening game at Sloan Park.
Mr. Banks will be honored with a pregame ceremony before Major League Baseball’s Cubs vs. Cardinals Season Opener at Wrigley Field April 5, and each fan attending that night’s game will receive a commemorative pin in honor of the Hall of Famer. Fans will see many other tributes paying homage to Mr. Banks’ remarkable life and career throughout the evening.
A collection of videos, photos and articles have been posted to Cubs.com over the last several weeks, while the team’s Vine Line Magazine will publish a special feature edition honoring Mr. Cub in March.
“There is no level of recognition that can properly acknowledge how much Ernie Banks meant to this franchise and fan base,” said Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts in a statement. “Collectively, we must ensure Mr. Cub’s legacy rightfully lives on at the Friendly Confines and with future generations of baseball fans.”
Inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1977, Banks was a lifelong Cub who played for 19 seasons. He was a 14-time All-Star and back-to-back National League Most Valuable Player in 1958 and 1959.
Ernie Banks hit 512 home runs in his career, and his 277 home runs as a shortstop remain a National League record.
Among Cubs players, Banks ranks first in games played (2,528), at-bats (9,421), extra-base hits (1,009) and total bases (4,706); second in home runs (512), RBI (1,636) and hits (2,583); third in doubles (407); fifth in runs scored (1,305); seventh in triples (90); and eighth in walks (763).
Starting while still as a player in 1967, Ernie turned his eye to coaching and served in that role through 1973, becoming the first African American to manage a major league team May 8, 1973, when he took over for the ejected Whitey Lockman.
He was the first Cub to have his number retired in 1982, was voted to Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team in 1999, and was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.