Let's play two : the legend of Mr. Cub, the life of Ernie Banks

by Rapoport, Ron,

Format: Print Book 2019.
Availability: Available at 6 Libraries 6 of 6 copies
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CLP - Allegheny Regional Non-Fiction Collection GV865.B24 R36 2019
Location  CLP - Allegheny Regional
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  GV865.B24 R36 2019
CLP - East Liberty New Books GV865.B24 R36 2019
Location  CLP - East Liberty
Collection  New Books
Call Number  GV865.B24 R36 2019
CLP - Hill District Fiction Collection GV865.B24 R36 2019
Location  CLP - Hill District
Collection  Fiction Collection
Call Number  GV865.B24 R36 2019
CLP - Homewood African American GV865.B24 R36 2019
Location  CLP - Homewood
Collection  African American
Call Number  GV865.B24 R36 2019
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - New Books GV865.B24 R36 2019
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - New Books
Call Number  GV865.B24 R36 2019
CLP - Squirrel Hill Non-Fiction Collection GV865.B24 R36 2019
Location  CLP - Squirrel Hill
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  GV865.B24 R36 2019
The definitive and revealing biography of Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks, one of America's most iconic, beloved, and misunderstood baseball players, by acclaimed journalist Ron Rapoport.
Ernie Banks, the first-ballot Hall of Famer and All-Century Team shortstop, played in fourteen All-Star Games, won two MVPs, and twice led the Major Leagues in home runs and runs batted in. He outslugged Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Mickey Mantle when they were in their prime, but while they made repeated World Series appearances in the 1950s and 60s, Banks spent his entire career with the woebegone Chicago Cubs, who didn't win a pennant in his adult lifetime.

Today, Banks is remembered best for his signature phrase, "Let's play two," which has entered the American lexicon and exemplifies the enthusiasm that endeared him to fans everywhere. But Banks's public display of good cheer was a mask that hid a deeply conflicted, melancholy, and often quite lonely man. Despite the poverty and racism he endured as a young man, he was among the star players of baseball's early days of integration who were reluctant to speak out about Civil Rights. Being known as one of the greatest players never to reach the World Series also took its toll. At one point, Banks even saw a psychiatrist to see if that would help. It didn't. Yet Banks smiled through it all, enduring the scorn of Cubs manager Leo Durocher as an aging superstar and never uttering a single complaint.

Let's Play Two is based on numerous conversations with Banks and on interviews with more than a hundred of his family members, teammates, friends, and associates as well as oral histories, court records, and thousands of other documents and sources. Together, they explain how Banks was so different from the caricature he created for the public. The book tells of Banks's early life in segregated Dallas, his years in the Negro Leagues, and his difficult life after retirement; and features compelling portraits of Buck O'Neil, Philip K. Wrigley, the Bleacher Bums, the doomed pennant race of 1969, and much more from a long-lost baseball era.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Yes, there are two biographies of Chicago Cub baseball legend Ernie Banks with the same title, appearing within a month of each other. Most Cubs fans won't mind the duplication one bit. First, because both books are fine sports biographies, and, second, because from the 1950s into the '70s, Ernie Banks was the Chicago Cubs and for fans of a certain age always will be. Banks had a Hall of Fame career, highlighted by two National League MVP awards, yet was often viewed nationally, particularly after he retired, with some sadness, given that he never played in the postseason. There is, of course, significant overlap between the two books, especially regarding Banks' on-field triumphs, but each title has its individual strengths, and both deserve places in most sports collections.The primary difference in the books? Rapoport, a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for 20 years, knew Banks very well, and that relationship, as well as Rapoport's knowledge of Chicago sports, informs much of his account, including his coverage of Banks' early years in Chicago, at a time when the city was the most segregated large urban area in the country. Banks' excellence on the field quickly became apparent after the Cubs purchased his contract from the Negro League Kansas City Monarchs in 1953, and, soon enough, he was a celebrity on both sides of Chicago's de facto color line separating North Side from South. Rapoport shows both sides of that celebrity, too, noting that Banks tried to establish a future, post-baseball career for himself in the off-seasons, while he was still playing, but was unable to do so, mostly because whatever bank or government agency hired him traded only on his fame rather than grooming him to be a useful employee. So Banks' retirement years were spent largely as an ambassador for the Cubs. Despite the cheerful titular catchphrase associated with Banks, there was a great deal of sadness woven into his life, and Rapoport presents that aspect of the man sensitively, noting especially the toll that the Cubs' failures took on their star.Wilson is a former college baseball player, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, and the author of four previous books on baseball. He's a serious student of the game, a meticulous researcher, and a fine writer. Like Rapoport, Wilson provides details of Banks' North Dallas youth, his stint with the Kansas City Monarchs, and his emergence in the fifties as one of baseball's first Black stars. Wilson's book is more analytical than Rapoport's, looking closely at the numbers, but he also does a fine job of using interviews with Banks' teammates to enhance the narrative. Both books offer fine accounts of the disastrous 1969 season, when the Cubs blew a large lead to the Mets in the closing weeks of the season. Like Rapoport, Wilson gets behind Banks' cheerful persona to reveal the man's deep-seated melancholy, again using interviews to bring out a complex personality. A well-constructed, empathetic biography.--Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Rapoport, a 20-year veteran sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, delivers what is sure to be the definitive biography of Chicago Cubs baseball player Ernie Banks (1931-2015), a man known by fans as "Mr. Cub." Through more than 100 interviews with Banks's family, friends, and teammates, Rapoport traces a complicated life that was masked by a "constant public display of good cheer" during Banks's career, summed up in his signature line: "It's a beautiful day for a ball game, let's play two." Rapoport expertly describes the skills that made Banks a Hall of Famer in 1977, particularly how Banks "transformed the nature of power hitting" through a combination of upper body strength and a light bat, a practice that Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle copied. Rapoport reveals how throughout his life Banks masked his "tortured soul"-in his childhood of poverty in Dallas; while playing in the Negro Leagues in Kansas City; during the move to the Cubs in 1953, where he had to deal with the city's segregation; and playing under hypercritical manager Leo Durocher during his final years. This marvelous look at the life of a beloved athlete should be essential reading for baseball fans, and Cubs lovers especially. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Banks, Ernie, -- 1931-2015.
Chicago Cubs (Baseball team) -- History.
Baseball players -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Biography.
African American baseball players -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Biography.
Publisher New York :2019.
Edition First edition.
Other Titles Let us play two
Language English
Description ix, 454 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 423-434) and index.
ISBN 9780316318631
Other Classic View