Senator Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, honored Hall of Famer Ernie Banks Monday with a speech on the Senate Floor.
Banks died Friday at the age of 83.
“His love for the game of baseball was matched only by his passion for the city of Chicago,” Durbin said.
Durbin also told a story about when Banks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, where Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, met Banks afterward in Durbin’s office.
“I remember Harry Reid, when he met Ernie Banks, he said ‘I used to play a little baseball,'” Durbin said. “And Ernie Banks said to him ‘well Sen. Reid, what position did you play?'”
Reid told Banks he was a catcher.
“Well if you truly were a catcher, get down in that catcher’s position,” Banks told Reid.
“Somehow or another, Harry Reid got down in that catcher’s position right in my office to prove it to Ernie Banks,” Durbin said with a chuckle.
It’s not the first time Durbin has taken time in Congress talk baseball.
His 1989 speech in defense of the wooden bat is widely regarded as one of the greatest diatribes ever given on the House floor.
“I don’t want to hear about saving trees, any tree in America would gladly give its life for a day of glory at home plate,” Durbin said. “I don’t know if it will take a constitutional amendment to keep the baseball traditions alive, but if we forsake the great Americana of broken-bat singles and pine tar, we certainly will have lost our way as a nation.”