I received the photo you see at the top of this post from Bob LeBailly, better known here as BCB user AlSpangler (he gave me permission to post his real name), after he made a trip to Graceland Cemetery to pay respects to Ernie Banks.
Here’s what he told me about his visit.
I had assumed there might be a small group at Ernie’s grave, but I was all by myself during the 30 minutes I was there around 3 p.m. Monday. Also, there were no flowers or other items left behind (I’m guessing Graceland picks up anything left each day). Graceland had a sign posted just past their gates that bicycles and motorcycles were prohibited on their grounds, but I was fine driving my car. People without a car will have to hike about half a mile once inside Graceland to reach Ernie’s grave.
In my home office I have pennants running around the walls just below the ceiling level arranged chronologically, the earliest being from 1958 (when I attended my first Cubs game), then for every season they made it to the postseason. Needless to say, my second oldest is a 1984 NL Eastern Division champs. Then I have a 1989 Eastern Division Champions pennant, a 1998 Wild Card pennant, a 2003 Central Division Champions pennant, a 2003 NLCS pennant, a 2007 Central Division Champions pennant, a 2008 Central Division Champions pennant, a 2015 NLCS pennant (they didn’t make a Wild Card pennant last year). I’m waiting until the World Series is over before putting up any of my 2016 pennants, but I already have purchased a 2016 Central Division pennant, a 2016 NLDS pennant, a 2016 NLCS pennant, and Monday’s purchase, a 2016 National League Champions pennant. I’m hoping to add one more 2016 pennant soon.
My 1958 pennant was bought for me at my first game on April 19, 1958. As you can see in this boxscore, Ernie hit his first home run of the 1958 season that day, the year in which he earned his first MVP award, and the Cubs won 6-3 over the Cardinals. Perhaps this explains how I became a Ernie Banks and Die Hard Cubs fan. It also might explain the great satisfaction I experienced defeating the Cardinals in the 2015 NLDS.
I can’t help thinking Ernie rests a bit more peacefully since Saturday evening.