A Presidential Medal of Freedom for Mr. Cub

The greatest ambassador of Chicago Cubs baseball is in Washington today. If you happened to be at the White House today, you would have seen Ernie Banks there to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. You would have seen Oprah, too, but since this isn’t an Oprah blog, we’ll focus on the Ernie part. As you would expect, Mr. Cub was gracious in anticipation of receiving the award. Banks

“It means everything to me,” Banks said in August about the award. “It means life is just wonderful. When you do things to try to help people and share things, it really comes back to you. I try to do that. I love the players, love Wrigley Field, love all the players. … This award means a lot to me. It’s almost like the Nobel Peace Prize to me.”

He’s part of an elite group of baseball players to have received the award.

Banks joins a distinguished list of baseball players to receive the honor, including Hank Aaron (2002), Roberto Clemente (2003) Joe DiMaggio (1977), Stan Musial (2011), Buck O’Neil (2006), Frank Robinson (2005), Jackie Robinson (1984) and Ted Williams (1991).

He must feel especially giddy to be in the same group as his idol, Jackie Robinson.

“Jackie Robinson was my idol and I really, really respected him. The first day I came to Wrigley Field, Jackie was there. The Dodgers already clinched the pennant so he came over to 3rd base and shook my hand and congratulated me on being in the major leagues and all of that and said to me, ‘Ernie, just listen and you’ll learn,’” said Banks.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is a fitting tribute for the man who’s been the unflinchingly optimistic face of a down-in-the-dumps franchise for over 50 years.


As for today’s Cubs, we should expect to see some roster moves made today, as it’s the last day minor league players can be added to the 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. Carrie Muskat, take it away

The Rule 5 Draft takes place Dec. 12, the last day of the Winter Meetings. Between Wednesday’s roster deadline and Dec. 12, teams will not be permitted to add players from the Minor League rosters to the Major League 40-man roster. Teams can add Major League free agents or players acquired in trade. The Cubs’ 40-man roster is currently at 37.

Who is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft? Players who signed at age 19 or older become Rule 5 eligible after four years. That means any players who signed out of college in the 2010 Draft are eligible. A player who signed his first pro contract at age 18 or younger has five years before becoming eligible. Players drafted out of high school in 2009 are in this pool.

If you’d like to read more about who might or might not be protected, check out this piece from John over at Cubs Den. He also mentions that the Cubs might have interest in the dreamy Grady Sizemore.

13 thoughts on “A Presidential Medal of Freedom for Mr. Cub

  1. johnnywest333 says:

    Great Sizemore has played in only 100 games in the last 3 years combined. I’m pumped!

    And congrats to Ernie..

  2. Doc Blume says:

    This is probably the closest a Cub will get to getting a post season award in the next 3 years.

    1. johnnywest333 says:

      Unless one of the Blackhawks lets one of them hold the Stanley.

  3. juliedicaro says:

    Big layoffs at the Trib today. 700 and counting. I’m watching people be laid off all around me.


    I might not be around too much today. :(

    1. psymar says:

      On the bright side, at least Donald Trump isn’t there (I’m guessing).

    2. Doc Blume says:

      That sucks. But I’m assuming that you are going to fall into a new position now…like CEO or something.

  4. johnnywest333 says:

    Wow 100 million in budget cuts is crazy! Hope you make it through Julie…

  5. sloanpeterson2 says:

    Maybe they are thinning the organization to make it more desirable to Mark Walters of the Guggenheim Group. He was interested in buying only the L.A. Times, and the Chicago Tribunew, but not the rest of the Tribune papers…

    1. Doc Blume says:

      Well, I know that TribCo is going to be splitting the company into two at some point next year…with all the publishing assets in on company and the broadcasting assets in the other. I’m guessing this has more to do with reorg’ing the publishing part to prepare for the split than it does with anything else.

      1. FrankS says:

        Well, it has to do with saving money because paying employees costs money. I am guessing that more employees will be pushed to part time work and that more articles will be written by freelance authors and stringers all in an attempt to drive down expenses. In today’s America, full-time workers are an unjustified expense.

  6. Doc Blume says:

    It looks like Prince Fielder has been traded to the Rangers.

    Rumor is that the Tigers might be making room to sign Cano.


    1. sloanpeterson2 says:

      They just verified that trade pending physicals. And a third player may be involved…

      1. Doc Blume says:

        Looks like it’s Kinsler for Fielder and $30 million.

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