On This Date in 1971...
...Ernie Banks' Hall of Fame career comes to an end, when he's released by the Cubs. His 19 Wrigley Field seasons punched a ticket to Cooperstown with 512 home runs, and 14 All Star Games and two National League MVP Awards. One of the Black Americans who dominated the game during the 1950s, Ernie's Chicago connections remained strong for the rest of his life -- including owning a Windy City Ford dealership, as well as coaching and serving as Cubs good will ambassador.
His prolific career numbers landed him a pair of franchise "firsts": in 1982, as the first Cub to have his number retired... 26 years later, their first player to be honored with a statue outside their iconic ballpark. Happily, "Mister Cub" lived to see it and he was on hand for the ceremony on opening day (March 31st) of 2008.
(My image of the Ernie Banks Statue is from my May 2016 visit to Wrigley Field.)