Thursday, April 28, 2016

Backing Up the Truck.... Ernie Banks

Even before Ken Holtzman, the first '69 Cub to go was Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks.

If Leo Durocher had his way, Ernie would have been gone much sooner than 1971.  From the time he arrive in 1966, Leo didn't have much good to say about the aging slugger.  Each spring he would tout some rookie as the first baseman of the future.

Each spring Ernie proved Leo wrong.

It was Leo that led to Ernie's end.  It was time.  Age and injuries caught up with him in 1970 and finished him in 1971.  That last season saw the 40-yeare-old play in just 39 games, hitting only three homers and batting .193.  

He never announced his retirement during the season.  He just faded away.

Leo was finally rid of him.

But he wasn't.

Ernie became a full-time coach on Leo's staff.  I'm sure Leo was thrilled.

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