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.

More

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 -- The bronze statue of Ernie Banks was on display in Daley Plaza on Wednesday as a public memorial to allow fans to celebrate the Hall of Famer's life.

The statue, which had been removed from Wrigley Field for restoration when renovation work began at the 100-year-old ballpark, is located near the Picasso statue downtown.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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."

More

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."

More

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'

|
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.

Continue Reading on Cut4

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.

More

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.

More

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

Williams saddened by loss of former teammate, friend Banks

Cubs legends forever linked on and off the field

Williams saddened by loss of former teammate, friend Banks

CHICAGO -- Billy Williams had a feeling something was wrong with Ernie Banks when he didn't show up at the Cubs Convention.

"He wouldn't miss [the convention], because it was about the Cubs, and he was always about the Cubs," Williams said. "He always wanted to meet the young players coming up through the organization, including myself and [Ron] Santo when we first got there."

More

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.

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.

More

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

More

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

|
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.

Continue Reading on Cut4

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

|
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. 

Continue Reading on Cut4

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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

Negro Leagues Museum fondly remembers Mr. Cub

Negro Leagues Museum fondly remembers Mr. Cub

Bob Kendrick received a phone call a few months ago during the baseball season, and when he heard the voice on the other line, he couldn't help but smile.

It belonged to Ernie Banks, calling to check in with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, as he would from time to time.

More

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

Big names from sports and beyond say #LetsPlayTwo

|
Big names from sports and beyond say #LetsPlayTwo

Ernie Banks spent 19 seasons playing for the Cubs, earning the famous nickname "Mr. Cub" in the process. On Friday, Banks passed away at the age of 83.

Banks was beloved in the city of Chicago and throughout the MLB community. He began his career with the Negro Leagues' Kansas City Monarchs, but joined the Cubs in 1953 and was the first black player to ever play for the franchise. After 14 All-Star appearances and two MVP awards, he retired following the 1971 season, racking up 512 HRs and 2,583 hits in the process. He loved baseball so much, his catchphrase became "let's play two," referring to a desire to play a doubleheader every day he could.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Fowler, Cubs avoid arbitration with $9.5 million deal

Fowler, Cubs avoid arbitration with $9.5 million deal

The Cubs and newly acquired outfielder Dexter Fowler avoided arbitration and reached agreement on a one-year deal worth $9.5 million.

Fowler, 28, was acquired Monday from the Astros for right-handed pitcher Dan Straily and infielder Luis Valbuena. The Cubs had inherited the arbitration figures which the Astros exchanged last week; Fowler asked for $10.8 million, and Houston countered at $8.5 million.

More

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

Cubs claim well-traveled righty Germen off waivers

Cubs claim well-traveled righty Germen off waivers

CHICAGO -- Gonzalez Germen has traveled quite a bit this offseason without going anywhere.

On Friday, the Cubs claimed Germen off waivers from the Rangers. The right-handed pitcher was designated for assignment by the Mets on Dec. 15, and he was traded to the Yankees four days later. Germen was then designated for assignment on Jan. 13, before being traded to the Rangers on Tuesday.

More

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

Jonathan Mayo

Vogelbach No. 8 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 1B Prospects list

Bucs' Bell leads list, followed by A's Olson, Yanks' Bird

Vogelbach No. 8 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 1B 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.

As has become an annual occurrence, the list of top first basemen lacks a bit in the elite prospect department. But there is good news: There are two players on this list on this year's Top 100: Josh Bell of the Pirates and Matt Olson of the A's. That doubles the total from the 2014 preseason list.

More

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.

Young Baez impressing Cubs with work ethic

Prospect doing what he can in winter ball to improve before vying for club's second-base job

Young Baez impressing Cubs with work ethic

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez is back in Santurce's lineup, and back at work on his swing.

The Cubs infielder took a brief break from his Winter Leagues at-bats in Puerto Rico to come to Chicago for the team's fanfest last weekend. Baez has lost 15 pounds since the 2014 season ended, which impressed the Cubs, and he is also working hard to improve after batting .169 in 52 games last season.

More

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

Jim Callis

Schwarber No. 3 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 C Prospects list

Red Sox's Swihart sits atop list, followed by Rangers' Alfaro and Cubs' Schwarber

Schwarber No. 3 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 C 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.

Though only one catcher (Blake Swihart of the Red Sox) fits in the top 40 spots on MLBPipeline.com's upcoming 2015 Top 100 Prospects list, talent behind the plate actually runs deep. The Minors are teeming with backstops who have the tools to contribute offensively and defensively in the big leagues in the near future. This list could see a lot of turnover a year from now, as Christian Bethancourt figures to be the Braves' starter and Swihart, Kevin Plawecki (Mets) and J.T. Realmuto (Marlins) could be playing regularly in the Majors by season's end.

More

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.