Large crowd turns out for Banks' visitation service

Thousands gather at Fourth Presbyterian Church to reflect on Mr. Cub's life, lovable personality

Large crowd turns out for Banks' visitation service

CHICAGO -- Thousands of Cubs fans took their turn standing in front of the altar Friday at Chicago's Fourth Presbyterian Church, paying their respects to the greatest and most beloved Cub of all time.

Ernie Banks -- Hall of Famer, "Mr. Cub" and possessor of a childlike zest for baseball and life until his dying day -- was remembered during a public visitation at the church on 126 East Chestnut St. from noon-8 p.m. CT.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Speakers to pay tribute to Banks in memorial service

Former teammates, family, Chicago mayor among those giving remembrances

Speakers to pay tribute to Banks in memorial service

CHICAGO -- After a public visitation Friday at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Lou Brock, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be among the speakers Saturday at the funeral service for Cubs legend Ernie Banks.

Saturday's memorial service at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 East Chestnut Street in downtown Chicago, will begin at 10 a.m. CT and will include remembrances, readings and tributes. The list of speakers also includes Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts. A simulcast of MLB Network's coverage will stream live on MLB.com and cubs.com.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Which prospects will make the Top 100 cut?

Buxton looking to defend No. 1 slot with 2015 rankings set to be unveiled

Which prospects will make the Top 100 cut?

After an offseason filled with transactions and intrigue, Spring Training is fast approaching. That means it's time for the unveiling of the latest MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list.

The annual preseason ranking of the Top 100 prospects in baseball will be revealed tonight, with the Top 50 being unveiled during a one-hour special on MLB Network and MLB.com beginning at 9 p.m. ET, and the entire list on MLB.com. The show, hosted by Greg Amsinger, will feature analysis from MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, as well as MLB Network analyst Bill Ripken.

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Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Williams reflects on joyful memories of Banks

Former teammate, close friend was with Mr. Cub for 'greatest moments'

Williams reflects on joyful memories of Banks

CHICAGO -- Billy Williams stood in front of his old friend Friday morning at Chicago's Fourth Presbyterian Church, where thousands of Chicagoans and Cubs fans came to pay tribute to Ernie Banks.

Williams, Banks' teammate of 13 seasons and a dear friend, stood silently at the front of the church where Banks' body lay in a closed casket, covered with a blue pinstriped flag featuring his name and No. 14. It was then, Williams said, he truly realized his close friend was gone.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Banks' legacy includes Presidential Medal of Freedom

Mr. Cub honored due to baseball prowess, civil rights role and positive outlook

Banks' legacy includes Presidential Medal of Freedom

CHICAGO -- U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley has known Ernie Banks at various stages in his life: as a 10-year-old fan, a county commissioner and now a congressman for Illinois' 5th District, which includes Wrigley Field and the surrounding area. Quigley was also in Washington, D.C., in 2013, when Banks was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"It struck me that when I saw him at the White House, he treated everybody, whether they were a congressman or a 10-year-old fan, the same way -- like they were the most important person, the most important fan at Wrigley Field," Quigley said Friday.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Ricketts pays respects to Mr. Cub at visitation

Cubs chairman said club will honor Banks throughout 2015 season

Ricketts pays respects to Mr. Cub at visitation

CHICAGO -- Like the head of a family who has lost a loved one, Tom Ricketts stood vigil at the back of Fourth Presbyterian Church early Friday afternoon, as an eight-hour public visitation for Ernie Banks was beginning.

Ricketts shook hands, patted backs and talked about life without Mr. Cub.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Castrovince: Wrigley Field will always be Banks' home

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Castrovince: Wrigley Field will always be Banks' home

On the weekend Chicago bids its official goodbye to Ernie Banks, the Wrigley Field renovations continue.

It's a strange sight, to say the least. The building where Banks worked his magic and frequently reminded us what pure joy the game of baseball can bring to our minds and our hearts has been ripped, in some corners, down to its core. And perhaps you've heard the reports of the scurrying rats that have been forced to look for shelter elsewhere in Wrigleyville.

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Fans from all walks of life stop by to salute Banks

Mr. Cub brings people together at church viewing

Fans from all walks of life stop by to salute Banks

CHICAGO -- For one day -- a bitterly cold, wind-whipped day on Michigan Avenue -- Fourth Presbyterian Church served as the Friendly Confines. And given that the casket at the altar contained a man who always had a smile for those he met, a man who even total strangers considered a close friend, this goodbye, this visitation service, was a fittingly public one, open to one and all.

And so Cubs fans and, yes, even some non-Cubs fans entered those doors, walked past that closed casket -- draped with a No. 14 flag and flanked by a large photo of Ernie Banks flashing that perfect smile of his -- and paid their respects to "Mr. Cub." There were celebrities and dignitaries here, sure. Team chairman Tom Ricketts, Sen. Dick Durbin, Cubs greats like Andre Dawson, Billy Williams, Ferguson Jenkins and Jose Cardenal were all on hand in the early portion of the eight-hour viewing.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Statue draws Mr. Cub's legion of fans to downtown Chicago

Statue draws Mr. Cub's legion of fans to downtown Chicago

CHICAGO -- The statue is not new. It was unveiled outside Wrigley Field in 2008. Fans have had ample opportunity to see it, touch it, take photos of it. But until last week, they had nearly as much opportunity to see Ernie Banks himself, visible public figure that he was. But Banks is gone now, and only the statue remains.

So here they were on a windy winter Friday afternoon, visiting the statue in its new and temporary home at Daley Plaza, the city's main civic artery. The statue will rest here through Saturday, and it has relegated "The Picasso" -- the 50-foot, untitled sculpture that anchors the plaza -- to second-fiddle status.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Soler No. 3 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 OF Prospects list

Twins' Buxton leads list again, followed by Pederson (Dodgers), Soler (Cubs), Winker (Reds)

Soler No. 3 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 OF Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday, Jan. 30, on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

The top 10 outfielders list annually has some of the most athletic and exciting prospects in the Minor Leagues, and this year is no different. Though half of the players on last year's preseason list lost their rookie eligibility in 2014, the other half returns, led by last year's No. 1 overall prospect, Byron Buxton.

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Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Russell No. 3 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 SS Prospects list

Astros' Correa, Indians' Lindor, Cubs' Russell lead strong contingent

Russell No. 3 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 SS Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

The top two players from the 2014 list of top shortstop prospects graduated: Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox and the Cubs' Javier Baez. So did the last two on that top 10: Luis Sardinas, then of the Rangers, and Chris Owings of the D-backs.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Banks statue in Daley Plaza for fans to pay tribute

Cubs will keep public memorial of Hall of Famer on display until Saturday

Banks statue in Daley Plaza for fans to pay tribute

CHICAGO -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ernie Banks' wife, Liz, placed a red, white and blue wreath Wednesday at the base of a bronze statue for Mr. Cub, relocated to Daley Plaza for a public memorial.

"We all know Ernie was Mr. Cub and you don't become Mr. Cub because you play a lot of baseball games or hit a lot of home runs," said Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, who attended the brief ceremony. "You become Mr. Cub because you love the team, you love the fans, you love the ballpark more than anyone else.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzo's triumph over cancer takes stage on Network special

Rizzo's triumph over cancer takes stage on Network special

From the moment he was drafted by the Red Sox in 2007, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo began racking up the personal achievements. He mashed 32 home runs last season and earned his first All-Star selection.

But those accomplishments pale in comparison to Rizzo's biggest victory yet -- a victory in his battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Visitation, service for Banks to be held Friday, Saturday

Visitation, service for Banks to be held Friday, Saturday

CHICAGO -- Public visitation and memorial services for Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, will be held Friday and Saturday at Fourth Presbyterian Church, the Cubs announced.

The public visitation will be from 12-8 p.m. CT at the church, located at 126 East Chestnut Street, Chicago. On Saturday, there will be limited public seating available for the memorial service, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. CT at the church.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Banks, Wrigley formed relationship to remember

Mr. Cub never felt underappreciated by generous owner despite salary restrictions

Banks, Wrigley formed relationship to remember

Ernie Banks wasn't just the all-time leader in love of the game. He was at the top of the charts in trust too.

At a time when the reserve clause allowed baseball owners to hold onto players almost like personal property, with salaries limited to levels that are now unthinkable, Banks landed in the lap of Cubs' owner Philip Knight Wrigley in September 1953. They formed a lasting relationship that benefited both men.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chicago to host public memorial for Banks at Daley Plaza

Hall of Famer's bronze statue on display Wednesday until Saturday

Chicago to host public memorial for Banks at Daley Plaza

CHICAGO -- The bronze statue of Ernie Banks will be installed in Daley Plaza from Wednesday until Saturday as a public memorial for fans who want to celebrate the Hall of Famer's life, the Cubs and the City of Chicago announced Sunday. The outdoor plaza is at 50 W. Washington Street.

Banks, who played his entire career (1953-71) with the Cubs, passed away Friday at the age of 83.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Banks broke barriers with unwavering kindness

Mr. Cub possessed ideal personality to help tackle integration in baseball

Banks broke barriers with unwavering kindness

Ernie Banks passed away late Friday. He, however, will live forever in the memories of baseball players, officials and fans.

Banks arrived at Wrigley Field back in September of 1953, allowing the Cubs to become the ninth of the 16 Major League teams to integrate. More than 61 years later, he is still the face of one of the game's storied franchises.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Banks lauded for infectious personality, love of game

Fans, Selig, fellow greats fondly pay tribute to beloved Banks

Banks lauded for infectious personality, love of game

CHICAGO -- No. 14 flags flew from the top of the Wrigley Field scoreboard and outside the ballpark's marquee and fans left flowers, beer and a batting helmet to honor the memory of Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, who passed away on Friday.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig echoed the feelings of many Cubs fans when he said Banks was "synonymous with a childlike enthusiasm for baseball."

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. Chris Haft, Todd Zolecki and T.R. Sullivan contributed to this report. Muskat writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon watches Baez play in Puerto Rico

Maddon watches Baez play in Puerto Rico

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon was in Puerto Rico this weekend to watch Javier Baez play in the championship series with Santurce. What was he looking for? Maddon told the young infielder he wanted to "see him smile."

"My purpose is to see Javier Baez play," Maddon told El Nuevo Dia on Saturday. "Being a new member of the Cubs organization, being the manager and Javier being such a big part of our future, I thought it was important to come down and show support and start building that kind of relationship so he could trust me, also. From my perspective, the most important thing I have to do in Spring Training is earn the trust of all of our players."

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harry and Ron welcome Mr. Cub to 'Friendly Confines'

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Harry and Ron welcome Mr. Cub to 'Friendly Confines'

Mourning great loss is never easy, but it's the little things that emphasize the "great" rather than the "loss" part that often usher in moments of relief, if only slight and temporary. It was with this in mind that MLB enlisted designer Benjamin Marra to create an editorial cartoon memorializing Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.

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MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Legendary Mr. Cub in his own words

Legendary Mr. Cub in his own words

Sometimes you just turn on a voice recorder and let a person talk.

You might have done it with a grandparent at a family reunion. I did it a couple of times with Ernie Banks at events in 2010 -- one at Wrigley Field and another at a suburban library -- and on those nights he described the journey from his large family in Dallas into singular status with one of baseball's iconic franchises, as well as a few of the people he met along the way.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beloved Mr. Cub, Hall of Famer Banks dies at 83

Beloved Mr. Cub, Hall of Famer Banks dies at 83

The preeminent advocate of two-for-the-price-of-one baseball, the former shortstop who hit hundreds of home runs at a time when shortstops seldom hit home runs and the man as readily associated with one team as anyone in the history of American sports has died. Mr. Cub is gone. The game has lost Ernie Banks, the most popular baseball figure ever in Chicago.

Banks, who stands alongside Michael Jordan, Dick Butkus, Walter Payton, Bobby Hull, George Halas, Harry Caray, Bill Veeck and Ryne Sandberg in the Windy City's sports pantheon, died Friday at age 83, leaving the Second City without its No. 1 baseball ambassador.

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Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Grace mourns Banks, remembers his genuine kindness

Grace mourns Banks, remembers his genuine kindness

PHOENIX -- During his 13 years playing for the Cubs, Mark Grace got to know Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, but it was the first time that he met Banks that stands out.

For Grace, it seemed that Banks, who passed away Friday night at the age of 83, was simply too good to be true.

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Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Banks remembered as legend on, off field

Cubs icon, who passed away at 83, called one of Chicago's 'greatest ambassadors'

Banks remembered as legend on, off field

CHICAGO -- The message on the marquee at Wrigley Field on Friday night was succinct and sad.

Ernie Banks

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

President Obama mourns Hall of Famer Ernie Banks

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President Obama mourns Hall of Famer Ernie Banks

On Friday, the baseball world lost one of the greats when Hall of Famer Ernie Banks passed away at 83. As people all across baseball reacted to the heartbreaking news, President Barack Obama released a statement memorializing Mr. Cub.

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R.I.P. Mr. Cub: Here's Ernie Banks with Pearl Jam

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R.I.P. Mr. Cub: Here's Ernie Banks with Pearl Jam

Hall of Famer Ernie Banks died on Friday at the age of 83. Mr. Cub starred in 19 seasons at Wrigley Field as he accumulated more than 2,500 hits and belted 512 home runs, cementing himself as one of the game's greats. 

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MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Banks' smile and warmth will live on forever

His impact off the field every bit as impressive as his Hall of Fame career

Banks' smile and warmth will live on forever

Ernie Banks never seemed to have a bad day, and isn't that why we loved him? His was a journey filled with laughter and joy, and with a smile that lit up rooms and warmed hearts for 83 years.

Banks, who passed away Friday, played baseball the way he lived. He was a little kid at the ballpark, his enthusiasm infectious. He loved his Cubbies, too. Lord, did he love his Cubs. He loved that uniform, that ballpark and especially the fans.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Did you know: Ernie Banks facts and figures

Did you know: Ernie Banks facts and figures

Cubs icon and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks died Friday at age 83. Here are some facts and figures from Mr. Cub's 19-year career and beyond:

• Banks became the first player in Cubs history to have his number retired, when his No. 14 was set aside in 1982.

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Chad Thornburg and Andrew Simon are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Banks deeply admired by his peers on the diamond

Banks deeply admired by his peers on the diamond

The news of Ernie Banks' death on Friday, eight days shy of his 84th birthday, brought a flood of memories to contemporaries. Those who knew the man during his playing days as "Mr. Cub" -- and well beyond -- will tell you he was as universally loved and respected as any player the game of baseball has seen.

"They talk about the guy being the ambassador, and he was," Al Downing, the former pitcher of distinction, said by phone from his home in Southern California. "Ernie was Mr. Baseball. He was the same guy when he played and after he played. Ernie always had a positive, upbeat, pleasant outlook about everything and loved to talk -- especially about his Cubs. Deep down, he always believed in his team. That was real. He was very sincere about that.

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Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.