Ernie Banks: Mr. Cub and the Summer of '69
During the 1950's and '60's, Ernie Banks was a hero to thousands of boys. They all tried to copy his signature bat grip. On any rainy Saturday afternoon, whenever asked, the boys on their neighborhood playground would smile and say "let's play two!" Ernie was the great shortstop who was going to lead all Cubs fans to the Promised Land.
It's been over 40 years since Ernie retired and still no Cub fan has entered that Promised Land. This book covers the summer of '69, which was Ernie's one and only chance, during his prolific career, to come close to winning a pennant; let alone play in a World Series. Die-hard Cub fans can count on one hand the times their beloved ever came close to playing in the big game during their lifetimes.
Phil Rogers, as usual, has done his homework. He takes his readers back in time to the friendly confines where they can almost smell the Oscar Meyer Smokie Links being sold from an aluminum push-cart behind home plate. Steam and taste buds rising each time the vendor opens the lid.
During the summer of '69 not even the bleacher beer vendors could help the Cubs. There was not enough beer brewed to mask the epic breakdown that fans witnessed that summer. Hordes of Bleacher Bums are still that...bummed...today. The Cubs not only blew their considerable league lead, but they surrendered to the upstart New York Mets. This book answers most of the questions surrounding that collapse.
From Jackie Robinson to Leo 'The Lip" Durocher, Rogers spins a heroic recounting of one of the most controversial and embarrassing times in Cub lore.
Yes, during the 1950's and '60's, Ernie Banks was a hero to thousands of boys. He still is even if most of those boys have grown up some.