It's only been 43 years since he retired, but Ernie Banks made the cover of Sports Illustrated!! No, really. Every year the magazine puts out a special "Where Are They Now?" edition, and this year they had the good sense to make the beloved Mr. Cub their poster child.
I did get the chance to meet Ernie one time. Briefly, but that's plenty enough. It was at a gathering that used to be held once a year called Windy City West, where Chicagoans living in Los Angeles would get together, and spectacular food was flown in from Chicago. (Ah, I do miss that event...) Ernie Banks was there several years, and that's when I cross paths and had a chance to talk. It will not shock you to learn that he's a very nice guy. But then, what would you expect from a ballplayer with a renowned sunny disposition, who coined the phrase, "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame here at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. Let's play two!"
Happily, I now also have an autographed ball from him. "To my pal, Bob Elisberg. Faith. Ernie Banks."
Here below is my pal, Ernie.
Never too late. Let's buy two.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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