Magazine June 03, 2019, Issue

Ernie Banks’s Life of Sunshine and Shadows

The Ernie Banks statue outside Wrigley Field ( Jerry Lai USA Today Sports via Reuters)
Let’s Play Two: The Legend of Mr. Cub, the Life of Ernie Banks, by Ron Rapoport (Hachette Books, 464 pp., $14.99) and Let’s Play Two: The Life and Times of Ernie Banks, by Doug Wilson (Rowman & Littlefield, 272 pp., $24.95)

Ernie Banks was weird. Mister Cub was beloved for his perpetual “Let’s play two!” cheerfulness and his easygoing acceptance of whatever storms life and baseball offered. He also was married four times, adopted a child when he was in his late seventies, made it a goal to attend more weddings each year than in the year previous, often broke into song during press conferences, conducted faux interviews with himself for the entertainment of no one in particular, and once thought seriously about attending clown school. In his later years he greeted every man he met, whether he knew him or

This article appears as “Mr. Sunshine’s Shadows” in the June 3, 2019, print edition of National Review.

Jeremy BeerMr. Beer is a founding partner of American Philanthropic, a consultancy, and the author of the forthcoming book Oscar Charleston: The Life and Legend of Baseball’s Greatest Forgotten Player

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