Major Ernie Banks memorabilia getting first exhibit here
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The timing is perfect: Just as the annual Cubs Convention kicks off this Friday, the Chicago Sports Museum at Water Tower Place (adjacent to Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch restaurant) will unveil four of Ernie Banks’ most prized possessions. It will be the first time this group of Banks memorabilia has been exhibited.
The quartet of items includes the Cubs legend’s Medal of Freedom Award, which he received from President Obama in 2013; Banks’ Babe Ruth “Sultan of Swat Award” he received for outstanding batting achievement in 1958; the Major League Hall of Fame ring that was presented to Banks when he was inducted in Cooperstown in 1977 — plus a replica of the Ernie Banks statue outside Wrigley Field that permanently immortalizes his achievements.
The Cubs presented the statue to Banks during a ceremony on the opening day of the 2008 season. It stands approximately two feet high, is made of bronze and, in the words of Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group’s CEO Grant DePorter, “it is very heavy!”
DePorter went on to say that the Banks’ display is timely since “it also will arrive in time for Kerry and Sarah Wood’s ‘Woody’s Winter Warm Up’ event that benefits their Wood Family Foundation.” The convention-related event will also be held in the Chicago Sports Museum and 7th Inning Stretch venues on Friday night.
Cubs-connected folks expected for the benefit include Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta, Joe Maddon, Theo Epstein, Tom Ricketts, Ryne Sandberg and Fergie Jenkins — just to name a few.
DePorter explained the “items are on loan from the Ernie Banks Estate … which wanted to make the items available to share with the Cubs fans that Ernie loved so much.”
All of this, of course, is happening just prior to the first anniversary of the Hall of Famer’s death on Jan. 23.