“Let’s Play Two.”
Ernie Banks famous line resonates far and wide, but never more than when the Cubs play a double-header, like they do today. It only seemed natural to reflect back on this wonderful saying today and look at one small part of what makes the Chicago Cubs revered by so many.
Ernie Banks played 19 seasons with the Cubs, after joining them in 1953 as their first African-American player. He won back-to-back MVP awards in 1958 and 1959. His uniform #14 was retired in 1982, the first to be retired by the Cubs. On March 31, 2008 a statue of Ernie. He passed away on January 23, 2015 at the age of 83 years old.
Ernie was a first-ballot Hall-of-Fame inductee in 1977. And of course, it wouldn’t have been right if he didn’t say his famous line.
Ernie’s energy and enthusiasm was contagious. Besides his famous ‘Let’s Play Two’ line, he also coined the phrase the ‘Friendly Confines.’ Wrigley Field has been referred to the Friendly Confines ever since Ernie used those words to describe his delight at being back at Wrigley Field after a long road trip.
Legend has it that it was an extremely hot day in July, about 105, and the Cubs were in last place. Ernie entered the clubhouse to a downtrodden cast of players. He looked around and said, “It’s a beautiful day – Let’s play two.” (via USA Today) There were a few news reporters in the clubhouse that day, they wrote about the saying and it’s stuck ever since.
You can bet that the Cubs will have Ernie Banks singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” today on the big screen as he gazes down from his perch high above and takes in two.