LET’S PLAY TWO!

“There’s sunshine, fresh air, and the team’s behind us. Let’s play two!”
Ernie Banks, Baseball Hall of Fame Induction, August 8, 1977
Ernie's Baseball Card

Ernie almost made it to 84; just a week short. Ernie didn’t make it to the promised land of a World Series championship. I’m still hoping to see it before I’m lucky enough to make it to 84.

I’m a life-long Cubs fan. I grew up watching Ernie and the Cubs on a black and white TV. I could sing the jingle “From the Land of Sky Blue Waters” from those cute Hamm’s bear cartoon commercials before I knew what beer was.

So I grieve his passing along with our city and baseball fans throughout the country. There have been many stories shared about Ernie. By now those of his human kindness far surpass those about his achievements on the field.

A few weeks back I blogged about “Kinship” defined as an invitation for all to share their gifts. “It enriches through loving service, fostering interconnectedness and mutuality.” That’s why Ernie was so special. He was always sharing his gifts. He treated everyone as kin, even though curmudgeon Leo Durocher made it hard to do so in that infamous year of 1969.

Ernie on Wrigley MarqueIn his passing, Ernie reminds us that we should relish every day even if there’s no sunshine and every interaction even if it is with a stranger. We should always muster the energy for another 9 and even extra innings if necessary.

It may not be a Hamm’s; but here’s to you Ernie.

There were multiple choices for this week’s U2Cando lyrics:

  • “Hey Hey! Holy Mackerel!” that Ernie made popular in 1969;
  • “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request” written by Steve Goodman after he was diagnosed;
  • “When the Cubs Go Marching In” or “Go Cubs Go” also by Goodman.

But I’m going with a more recent composition by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder: “Someday We’ll Go All the Way.” When Eddie performed it on July 19, 2013 at a Wrigley Field concert, he shared that Ernie asked him to write a new Cubs song and then had Ernie join him on stage at the end of it.

Ernie's Statue

And here’s to the men and the legends we’ve known
Teaching us faith and giving us hope
United we stand and united we’ll fall
Down to our knees the day we win it all

Ernie Banks said “Oh, let’s play two”
Or did he mean 200 years
In the same ball park
Our diamond, our jewel
The home of our joy and our tears

Keeping traditions and wishes made new
A place where our grandfathers, fathers they grew
A spiritual feeling if I ever knew
And if you ain’t been I am sorry for you
And when the day comes with that last winning run
And I’m crying and covered in beer
I’ll look to the sky and know I was right
To think someday we’ll go all the way
Yeah
Someday we’ll go all the way
Someday we’ll go all the way

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3 thoughts on “LET’S PLAY TWO!

  1. Makes me proud to be a baseball fan … and even makes me proud to say the Cubs are my second favorite team … but more importantly, the sentiments of Ernie Banks, as you point out very well, are more universal and make me proud to be human.

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  2. I read your blog every Sunday morning, I look forward to it, I relish it, and in truth you have emboldened me to start my own….I’ll keep you posted.

    ….as for your latest…I too remember Mr. Cubs….Clemente has be astounded, Mantle’s throw from center to home plate, well…..but Mr. Cubs….very time he was up, I remembered what I loved about baseball, the personality behind the bat, larger than life…

    Rob!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  3. ted thanks for sending. as you know, i am not a sports fan at your level but i loved the game i watched with you and lynn at wrigley. every once in a while it pops up in my memory. thanks for sharing that part of your life with me peace alan

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