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Ernie Banks, “Mr. Cub,” was the first black player to play for the Chicago Cubs. At that time in the National League, just about every black player played in New York either for the Giants or Dodgers. There were no black players on the Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or St. Louis teams. The year was 1953, and attendance at Wrigley Field was down a quarter of a million and the Cubs were 40 or so games out of first place. The Cubs called up two black players that September day, one of whom was Ernie Banks. He started his career as a short stop before moving to first base. The most endearing quality, aside from his playing ability, was his genuine love for the game. He couldn’t wait to get out there, couldn’t wait to dig his cleats into the dirt—couldn’t wait for the game to begin. He was quoted as saying, “You must try to generate happiness within yourself. If you aren’t happy in one place, chances are you won’t be happy anyplace.” He was famous for saying, “It’s a beautiful day; let’s play two.” On a hot Texas day in Houston before the Astrodome was even built, the Cubs were playing a doubleheader on a sun-baked infield with dried out grass and no shortage of mosquitoes. “It’s a beautiful day,” Banks said, like he always said. “Let’s play two.” Instead he struck out three times in the first game and then fainted from heat exhaustion before the second game even began. After the game, coach Buck O’Neil asked Ernie if he still thought it was a beautiful day for a doubleheader. Ernie looked up slowly and with his most irresistible smile, “Mr. Sunshine” said, “There’s all beautiful days Buck. It’s just that some days are more beautiful than others.”
Read the article in its entirety in the April 2015
Bevil newsletter, which accompanies the cover.
January 23, 2015
Chicago, IL 60607
First Day of Issue
Released to collectors April 20, 2015, along with
Our moms and dads name us. Right from the start I was Kendal. It was so easy to be Kendal. No one ever doubted or scoffed when I responded to my name. It is only after many seasons and years that life will assign us our nicknames. Following many faithful years of playing with the Chicago Cubs, and showing no desire to play for anyone else, Ernie was crowned "Mr. Cub." After smiling every day for many years, on the good days and the bad, he was christened with the title, "Mr. Sunshine". To mom and dad, he was Ernie. To fans, he was that, and more.
One option I have when settling on a color scheme, is to pull colors from one of the stamps. Such is the case here, borrowing the green and yellow from the baseball stamp. I can't play around with the uniform colors. Although I do have choices on the uniforms, going with the historically accurate versions that existed during his time with the Cubs.