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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Mr. Selfless

Ernie Banks on a 1969 baseball card shot at Shea Stadium. No way it wasn't a beautiful day.

Ernie Banks on a 1969 baseball card shot at Shea Stadium. No way it wasn’t a beautiful day.

We know what Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub, had to say about doubleheaders. Yet I thought it might be fitting to remember there was more to the man who passed away Friday eight days shy of his 84th birthday than one admittedly beautiful quote.

Let’s play two? Absolutely. But let’s hear more.

“You have to be happy, and sports does it. What kind of world would this be without sports, without baseball? Why, you’d have people at each other all the time.”
— Ernie Banks, 1969

“I have problems, like everyone else, but it doesn’t do any good to go around spreading bad news.”
—Ernie Banks, 1971

“Some people can’t deal with strange people. I can. For 35 years all I did was deal with people I didn’t know. But the facade was also me. I view people as if they have a sign on their chest which says, ‘Make me happy,’ and I got happy by making them happy. I always view people as feeling worthless, not having self-esteem, and I try to focus attention off myself and onto them to make them feel important.”
—Ernie Banks, 1988

“I see a lot of people today who struggled and went to jail and the dogs were after them, and I’d look at them and look ’em in the eyes and say, ‘God almighty, I wish I’da been there.’ My children, sometimes they think about, ‘Daddy, where were you all the times that the struggle was going on?’ And I could only answer one way: ‘I was playing baseball.’ That was the struggle.”
—Ernie Banks, 2006

5 comments to Mr. Selfless

  • Dave

    Emailed a good friend who grew up within walking distance of Wrigley…she says it’s a really sad day in Chicago. Even when I was a young’un with a very immature perspective on things and the Cubs were the arch rivals, Ernie always seemed to me to be the good guy in the enemy dugout. Baseball could have used more guys like him over the past 40 years.

  • chuck

    Put that overrated smug humility-coached gift-basketing turd on those Cub teams and see if anyone would remember him. I think not.

    • Dennis

      Who are you referring to? I didn’t see anyone else mentioned in Greg’s nice tribute.

      • Chuck

        I met Ernie Banks once. We riffed on Lerner and Loewe together. I’m not kidding. March 1999, outside the Braves’ spring training facility. What a happy, delightful man.

  • Dennis

    RIP to a great ambassador for baseball, a true gentleman and legend.