Ernie Banks

Friends, Family Remember Ernie Banks at Memorial

"Ernie Banks is not Mr. Cub because we loved him. He is Mr. Cub because he loved us back"

Fans got the chance to say goodbye to Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks during a memorial service and procession Saturday morning.

On Friday, those fans paid their respects to Banks during a visitation at the Fourth Presbyterian Church. The memorial service coincided with what would have been Banks' 84th birthday.

Banks, the Chicago Cubs great who was affectionately known as "Mr. Cub," died last Friday at the age of 83 after suffering a heart attack.

Among the attendees at the service were Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Billy Williams, a friend and former teammate of Banks.

"Ernie Banks is not Mr. Cub because we loved him. He is Mr. Cub because he loved us back," Ricketts said.

Gov. Rauner reminisced about the summers he spent watching Ernie Banks on TV and praised him for his sunny disposition.

"Ernie, he always looked at the bright side. He was an eternal optimist, like we all should be," Rauner said.

Banks' close friends and family were also in attendance and shared their memories. His twin sons, Jerry and Joey, both spoke about their father and their childhood memories of playing in Wrigley Field, "the best playground ever," Joey Banks called it.

"For every tear we shed comes 10 stories of laughter, followed by 'That sounds like Dad,'" Jerry Banks said.

After the service, a procession carrying Banks drove by his statue in Daley Plaza, where it has been since Wednesday, and then to Wrigley Field.

In lieu of flowers, the team suggested fans make a donation in Banks’ memory to Cubs Charities, at www.cubs.com/give.

Banks is the most beloved and famous player in Cubs history. He was the first African-American to don a Cubs uniform, and it was the only one he would wear. In his 19-year career with the Cubs he hit 512 home runs and was twice voted the National League's Most Valuable Player.

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