Let's Play Two: The Legend of Mr. Cub, the Life of Ernie Banks

LET'S PLAY TWO                                     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.
 

PAT'S REVIEW


This is the first time I am reading anything about Ernie Banks. I know he played for the Cub’s and that he was called “Mr. Cub” This book gave me the information that I had never heard. He was born and raised in Dallas. That he started in baseball with the Kanas City Monarchs of the old “Negro” league”. With Josh Gibson being his coach and mentor. Someone who gave him guidance on and off the field. His time there really prepared him for the major leagues. He would win Home run titles, MVP, RBI, but never played in the World Series. The closet they in 69 they went into a slump at the end of the season after being ahead of the Mets by 8 and a half games. Also speaks about the owner of the Cubs Wrigley, and of course manager Durocher. I found this book to be a good baseball book with the information and showing me what he did in his career. I also found his life to be sad in a way though he got to play baseball he had other issues that seemed to plague him. But overall a good book about someone I did not know about before. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

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