Updated 01/28/15 – 11:30 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Fans of “Mister Cub” Ernie Banks crowded into Daley Plaza on Wednesday, after his statue was installed as a public tribute to arguably the most popular Cubs player of all time.
The statue will be the centerpiece for a public memorial through Saturday, the day that would be Banks’ 84th birthday, and will also be the day of his funeral.
Banks died of a heart attack on Friday at the age of 83.
Banks’s widow, Liz and Mayor Rahm Emanuel set a wreath at the base of the statue around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, and paused to remember the man who loved baseball, Chicago, and the Cubs.
“While Ernie Banks was ‘Mister Cubs,’ and always known as ‘Mister Cubs;’ he actually now, and always will be, and always has been ‘Mister Chicago,’” Emanuel said.
The first African-American player to suit up for the Cubs, Banks was possibly the best power-hitting shortstop of all time.
When Banks died last weekend, fans all over the nation were heartsick over the loss of “Mister Cub.”
“Ernie was baseball. Ernie was summertime. Ernie was Chicago,” said Mary Jo Perlongo.