Welcome to Ernie Banks Plaza

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By Paul M. Banks 

The Chicago Cubs franchise began play in 1876, but they didn’t erect a statue of “Mr. Cub,” Ernie Banks until opening day of the 2008 season. The magnificent sculpture by Lou Cella resides on the Corner of Clark and Addison near the world famous marquee of Wrigley Field. The inscription quotes the most famous “Banksism of all, “Let’s Play Two!” a statement Banks made in response to the gorgeous weather one day during his playing career. (“What a beautiful day for a ballgame, let’s play two.”) I picked a night with similarly mild weather to really observe the statue. I figured my first NBC5.com Street Team posting should feature the most famous person in Chicago history to share my last name. What truly separates this monument from the Harry Caray statue on the other side of the park is the placement of benches nearby. I sat down with my notebook and some reading material but then engaged in a little people watching. Many people, drunk, sober and every state in between, stopped by to view the statue. About half of them paused long enough to be in a picture alongside the Cubs’ all time leader in hits, games played, at-bats, and total bases. The most memorable was a group of four young women who felt the need to grab Ernie’s legs and position their face in between his ankles for their photo opportunity. Two of these women were rather….let’s just say the base of that statue got a stress test, and it is truly a very strong supportive structure.

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This little place is quite popular and I think we should officially name it “Ernie Banks Plaza” or “Banks Square.” If this were in Lincoln Square, we could call it Banksplatz, in Little Italy “Piazza del Banks.” If you visit the National-Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in that Southside Chicago neighborhood, you can see the very picturesque Piazza DiMaggio complete with statue of the “Yankee Clipper.” Ultimately, I could see Banks Plaza becoming a very sacred place for me: a landmark close to my home for meeting up with people, yet also a place for me to relax, read, and write alone.

By the way, since this is my profile pic for NBC.
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  1. paulmbanks says

    Or if this plaza were in Amsterdam we could call it “Banksplein”

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