This had been on the field for every game and
they've worn this shoulder patch, too.
I recently did some digging around the Tribune archives and found this picture:
It's from the September 27, 1971 edition. Mr. Cub played his final game the day before. The Cubs still had three more games left in Montreal, but Ernie was allowed to skip the trip.
He actually skipped most of the 1971 season. He played in just 39 games and hit a minuscule .193. His legs were shot and so was his power. He connected for just 3 HRs and 6 RBIs. It was a pretty inglorious way for him to end his storied career.
It seems like he ended his life in a similarly inglorious way. This article from Chicago Magazine give a pretty sad account of his final few years.
This is the way I'd like to remember 1971 and Ernie Banks...all smiles.