Ernie Banks

Ernie Banks’ death caused by heart attack; statue to be placed in Daley Plaza

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CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs announced Sunday the team's Ernie Banks statue will be placed in Daley Plaza Wednesday through Saturday so that fans may honor "Mr. Cub."

The statue was unveiled by the team back in 2008.

The widow of Ernie Banks, along with the family attorney, briefly addressed the media Sunday following the passing of the legendary "Mr. Cub."

It was also announced that a heart attack was the official cause of Banks' death.

Liz Banks made a quick statement, thanking those in attendance, before the family attorney made a brief statement on the life and legacy of Ernie Banks.

"It is certainly a sad day for us," the widow said. The attorney followed, remarking on the impact Banks had both in baseball and culture.

Meanwhile, Cubs fans are trying to cope with the loss of a legend.

Many of them stopped by Wrigley Field Saturday to pay tribute to  "Mr. Cub."

They left flowers, a jersey and other mementos at a growing memorial outside of baseball stadium where Banks made history more than five decades ago.

Many of the fans had their own stories of meeting the Hall of Famer.   Robert Qualls said Banks has a special place in his heart.

Paul Dzien recalled meeting Banks many years ago.  He said Banks asked him about his life and his job and spent no time talking about himself.   "He was such an ambassador to the team, such an ambassador to baseball.  I came to say goodbye one more time."

Banks passed away Friday night at the age of 83.

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  • Larry Garner

    Saw Ernie one time sitting outdoors at a car wash on n. Southport in 1998 while his car was being waxed. It was a time when a lot of people no longer recognized him unless he was introduced publicly. I was writing a story about the Sosa/McGwire home run race to break Roger Maris’ record for an Italian (sic) baseball magazine, and I asked Ernie if he thought either one of them would break the record. He immediately answered, “Both of them, ’cause the quality of baseball pitching had been watered down” (by the expansion of ML teams). He sure got that right. My only regret was that, after I’d finished my little conversation with him, I hadn’t told him it was one of the great joys of my life to have been able to watch him play for the Cubs all those years I was a kid seein’ games at Wrigley. He was in the first game I ever saw at Wrigley (Apr. 17, 1954): Ernie went 1-5 as the Cubs beat the Cards 23-13–the Cubs were ahead 12-10 going into the bottom half of the 5th, and they scored 10 runs and after that the Cubs and Ernie had my heart; my dad took me to that game and he probably was not so happy that the game set a record at the time for a 9 inning outing, but I would have been happy if they’d played two that day (just as Ernie often said he wanted to do).
    Ernie was really special, a new kind of home run hitter. Up till then most long-ball hitters were lumbering giants like the two outfielders the Cubs had when Ernie came up in ’53: Hank Sauer and Ralph Kiner. Those guys used bats that looked like miniature oak trees, and when they hit homers, the ball sailed high into the sky and landed deep in the bleachers or out on Waveland Ave. But Ernie used a bat as winnowy as a reed, and it was with a lightning flick of those great wrists (the embodiment of Newtonian magic) that his home runs caromed off his bat and snuck into the 2nd or 3rd row of the left-field bleachers, barely over the wall. It was sleek and clean and smooth, and that’s how Ernie’s baseball life was lived–like a guy who’s on a dream cloud gracefully gliding along.