Teammates, fans say farewell to Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks

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CHICAGO — A memorial service was held today for legendary Chicago Cubs slugger Ernie Banks, with fans and friends paying tribute at a packed church.

At today's service in a Chicago church, the man known as "Mr. Cub" was remembered as much for his character as for his accomplishments on the ball field, including his 512 career home runs.

Speaking to the crowd, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called Banks "a humble hero" who taught younger generations "how to play the game of life."

Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Lou Brock also spoke during the service at Chicago's Fourth Presbyterian Church.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson began by leading the mourners in a rousing round of applause to celebrate Banks' birthday. The civil rights leader noted that today is also the 150th anniversary of Congress passing the 13th amendment abolishing slavery.

PHOTOS: Remembering Ernie Banks

After the service, a procession took "Mr. Cub" past his statue at Daley Plaza downtown and Wrigley Field's famed marquee at the corner of Clark and Addison on the city's North Side.

Banks was the Cubs' first black player when he joined the team in 1953, six years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier.

The Hall of Famer, two-time MVP, military veteran and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom died Jan. 23 of a heart attack.

 

 

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