Reporting Mike Parker
CHICAGO (CBS) — Thousands of fans, and the family that owns the Cubs honored Ernie Banks Tuesday night at Wrigley. CBS 2′s Mike Parker was there.
Ernie Banks came back to Wrigley Field, as more than just a baseball Hall of Famer, but as the winner of the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom. The crowd was on its feet as he returned to home plate for a ceremony led by former teammate Billy Williams. Williams referred to his longtime friend, as “my hero.”
In the dugout before the celebration, Banks told CBS 2, “This whole thing, winning the Medal of Freedom Award, is this a great country or what? It really is. The things that happened to me in my life, it’s like wow, it’s hard to believe.”
Banks said he thinks of himself as merely “a former Cub who played here, and I just love the ballpark. I love the people. I love the team…they’re really wonderful.
The fans show that every day, as they gather to pose for pictures at the Ernie Banks statue outside Wrigley Field. Tuesday night, there was Andy Jameson who came all the way from Memphis to see the ceremony honoring Banks. He called his idol, “a very deserving man. He represents the Cubs very well. He’s Mr. Cub and it’s an honor to be here.”
At the conclusion of the home plate party before the Reds game, Banks jauntily danced with Laura Ricketts, one of the Cubs owners. The song they danced to was “I Believe I Can Fly.”
Earlier Banks told CBS2 he fully supports the owners’ plan for a huge renovation of the historic Wrigley Field.