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Let's Build Two!

By Benjy Lipsman in News on May 24, 2007 1:06PM

2007_05_sports_ernie_banks.jpgThis week, the Cubs announced plans to build a statue of Ernie Banks outside Wrigley Field, honoring Mr. Cub himself. The new statue will be in place before the 2008 season.

While discussions about erecting a statue honoring perhaps the greatest Cubs player ever had been going on for a while, Jess Jackson recently got the ball rolling with a public petition, appearances on the Mike North morning show, and a publicized meetings with Tribune Co. brass. While the implications by Jackson that the lack of a statue for Banks was somehow racist because Harry Caray had one already, Chicagoist does admire his determination and ability to seal the deal.

And we do think that the statue will be a great addition to the walkways surrounding Wrigley. In fact, we would build two statues of Banks! Famous for his "Let's play two!" and both his excellent fielding and hitting, why not build two? One showing him fielding a ball, and one of him batting. The Cubs could place them flanking the main entrance of Wrigley, just as the Lions guard the main entrance of the Art Institute.

Maybe we'll have to lobby for that idea to Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany, the Highland Park-based husband and wife duo commissioned to create the statue, who have already left quite a mark on the city with their works depicting Michael Jordan, Minnie Minoso and Harry Caray.

We do have one concern about the statue and its timing. Isn't Ernie Banks among those interested in purchasing the Cubs? Were he part of the group that ultimately buys the team from the Tribune Co., couldn't that look a bit unseemly? Maybe we would expect that from Donald Trump, but not Mr. Cub. While the decision to honor Banks was made by the current ownership, we'd hate to see such a joyous event for Banks and Cubs fans tarnished by any such implications. Or is this announcement the Cubs subtle way of indicating their preferred buyer for the storied franchise?

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