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CHICAGO - As he approached the casket to pay his respects to Ernie Banks, a steady flow of memories came rushing back to Billy W
Joined: Aug 24 2016
01:16, Apr 01 2017
CHICAGO - As he approached the casket to pay his respects to Ernie Banks, a steady flow of memories came rushing back to Billy Williams. Nick Fairley Jersey .There were so many from their Hall of Fame careers with the Chicago Cubs and their decades of friendship. And there was plenty of reminiscing during Fridays visitation.People not only here in Chicago but people around the world recognize the type of individual he was, Williams said. Its beginning to sink in now — Ive lost a great friend, youve lost a great friend.Banks hit 512 home runs and won two NL MVP awards. But hes remembered as much for his boundless enthusiasm — despite playing on mostly losing teams — and his desire to connect with everyone he met.Fans have been placing flowers outside Wrigley Field and stopping in Daley Plaza to take photos of his statue, which normally stands outside the ballpark. The city and the Cubs took the unprecedented step of taking the statue out of storage — where it been kept while the ballpark is renovated — and putting it on public display away from its usual home.On Friday, dignitaries and fans, some pausing to snap a picture, streamed past his casket draped with a giant Banks 14 jersey and a large photo of him in a Cubs cap smiling right behind it.A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, on what would have been his 84th birthday. After that, he will take one final trip to Wrigley. The procession will go by the statue before heading north past the ballparks famed marquee at the corner of Clark and Addison.Chairman Tom Ricketts said the Cubs will do everything we can to honour Banks and dedicate the season to him, although he did not have any details. He said they are still finalizing plans.Baseballs lost a great icon, Hall of Fame teammate Fergie Jenkins said.Jenkins talked about Banks love of day games and carpooling with him and Williams from the South Side to Wrigley. He also mentioned the nickname he gave Banks.Forget Mr. Cub or Mr. Sunshine. To Jenkins, Banks was AM and FM.He was like a radio. You couldnt turn him off, Jenkins said.Williams recalled babysitting Banks children and thanked them for lending me your father that many years. He said he tried to call Banks a few days before he died but was unable to reach him. When he got the news, it hit hard.It was hard to believe at that time, Williams said. I went to sleep. And then when I woke up that morning, I said, This is a dream. This is a dream. This individual, he made a lot of people happy. He was always joyous, and to wind up with a heart attack, it was really something.When I got the word, I was upstairs. I remember putting the phone on the bed and just putting my head on the bed and just thinking about the times we had through the years.One of Williams favourite memories was when Banks called to say he was going to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The ceremony at the White House was in November 2013 and Banks wanted his friend to attend.It was one of the moments we shared, Williams said. He was so joyous about it. I think back and I said, I was with Ernie for some of his greatest moments, and I really enjoyed that. Hes a guy that I will always — I will always — talk about, enjoy being his friend.Banks was not afraid to take on bigger issues, whether he was running for Chicago alderman in the 1960s or riding a Cubs float at Chicagos gay pride parade in recent years.People who did not really know Banks felt like they did.Longtime Cubs fan Trudie Acheatel recalled how he would walk around the ballpark talking to fans after he retired.He was so nice to us fans, said Acheatel, wearing a Banks jersey, plus a Cubs hat with two of his baseball cards and a pin in a protective plastic envelope attached. Ernie was such a wonderful gentleman.Whether he was talking to a teammate or a fan, Banks seemed more interested in learning about the other person than he was in discussing himself.In that sense, he was tough to crack. But he always found a way to connect, just like a great hitter.Ricketts saw it before his family purchased the Cubs. He met Banks at corporate events, and one thing struck him.When you do a speaking engagement, you have a contract. It says show up at this time, leave at this time, no autographs. Ernie would never leave. He would stay until the very last person got everything they wanted. He was just special that way. Cameron Jordan Authentic Jersey . Canada Day is here and with it comes Free Agent Frenzy as the NHLs 30 teams storm out of the gate for signing season. Rickey Jackson Saints Jersey . Thaddeus Young scored seven of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, Evan Turner added 22 points, and the 76ers hung on for their first road win since Nov. 1, beating the depleted Los Angeles Lakers 111-104 on Sunday night. http://www.authoritysaintsshop.com/mark-ingram-saints-jersey-c-11/ . New York City FC introduced Frank Lampard in Brooklyn on Thursday after signing the 36-year-old former Chelsea midfielder to a two-year contract.CHICAGO -- Wrigley Field turns 100 this spring, and Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is looking forward to celebrating the landmark birthday. He also wants to get started on the future of the beloved ballpark. Ricketts said Friday the team is examining all options for financing the renovation of the Cubs longtime home, including bringing in outside investors for the franchise. "Most teams are owned by dozens of investors," Ricketts said. "Its unusual for anyone to own 95 per cent of a team. So were going to look at whether or not that fits for us. But it is non-controlling, minority shares." Ricketts said outside investment is just one financing option being considered, and the process is just getting started. He also said there is no reason to be concerned about the financial state of the club. "It is quite common for teams to sell limited partnership interests," said Sal Galatioto, president of Galatioto Sports Partners. "Most of the major baseball franchises are held through partnerships." Galatioto said his firm represented the Ricketts when they purchased the Cubs, Wrigley Field and 25 per cent of Comcast SportsNet Chicago in 2009 from Tribune Co. or $845 million. The family controls 95 per cent of the Cubs, with Tribune Co. owning the rest. Forbes, in its recent valuation of major league teams, ranked the Cubs as the fourth-most valuable at $1.2 billlion. Archie Manning Jersey. "The $1.2 billion valuation of the club by itself seems to be in the ballpark," Galatioto said in an email. While Wrigley remains one of baseballs most popular ballparks, it lacks many of the modern amenities that are common around the majors. But the teams privately financed $500 million renovation plan remains on hold. The long-delayed project calls for construction of a nearby hotel and upgrades throughout the ballpark, with a Jumbotron video screen in left field and a 650 square-foot Budweiser sign in right. The Cubs have approval from the city for the Jumbotron and sign but seek assurances from rooftop owners along Waveland and Sheffield Aves. that they wont slow construction by suing over blocked views. The rooftop businesses give a percentage of their revenue to the Cubs as part of their contracts with the team. "The key is to just keep moving forward and keep talking," Ricketts said before the Cubs home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies, "and I expect that something will work for us. Well figure it out." But Ricketts had hoped to have started construction by now, and he sounded a bit tired about the negotiations with the rooftop owners. "Weve made a lot of concesssions," he said. "At some point it has to end somewhere. But again, were not there yet. 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