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Ernie Banks to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Aug 8, 2013, 5:44 PM EDT

Ernie Banks

Why give him just one medal? Let’s give him two!

President Barack Obama announced Thursday that Hall of Famers Ernie Banks and Dean Smith are among those who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor. According to the White House, this award is given to individuals “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Banks has been a fantastic ambassador for the game and is, by all accounts a wonderful human being. He will join Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Buck O’Neil, Frank Robinson, Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams as Medal of Freedom recipients from the game of baseball.

  1. nobody78 - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    I love Ernie Banks, but I don’t exactly get why he deserves a Medal of Freedom. Hall of Fame baseball player, great guy, yes. But a Medal of Freedom? I don’t quite get it. But maybe there’s stuff I don’t know about him. I’m very willing to be educated, though.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think I’d have given the Medal to half the baseball players listed. Jackie Robinson, yes, no question, give him a medal. I also agree with the case for O’Neill and Clemente, and Williams if you count his military service — though perhaps that undermines the “civilian award” idea.

    I love the other guys, but this seems like the wrong award to give someone whose primary accomplishment is being excellent at baseball.

    • largebill - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:03 PM

      Giving award to Banks makes more sense than some of the others getting recognized. One has spent most of the last month making stupid & racist comments.

    • blacksables - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      I’m sure what you meant to say was, ‘Congratulations on your award. It must be a great honor.’

      See, that wasn’t hard.

      • nobody78 - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:39 PM

        Heh. I guess if Lorretta Lynn is getting an award, there’s no point in stumping against the inimitable and unfathomably likable Mr. Cub.

        Still, going down the list, Banks is one of the oddest choices among all the athletes who have received the award. Most of them did something important outside of sports, or at least were incredibly famous. Banks, well… I can’t help thinking he wouldn’t be receiving this particular honor if we didn’t have a president from a certain large Midwestern city.

        *What did you JUST SAY about it being “pointless” to stump against Ernie?”

        Yeah, ok. Congrats, Ernie.

      • cohnjusack - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:46 PM

        Huh Nobody???

        I really think if you looked through the list of PMOF recipients, you’d say “Oh, yeah…this isn’t actually weird at all.”

      • nobody78 - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:58 PM

        I was actually planning to write a post about how they were all pointless. Then I read the list and there was a pretty decent rationale for most of them.

        Lorretta Lynn, Paul Harvey, and Will and Ariel Durant stood out to me as poor choices. Arnold Palmer and Richard Petty are about on the level of Ernie Banks, though they were more popular. There were a bunch I didn’t know. But in the end, they were mostly not bad.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:25 AM

        Hey “nobody” you obviously don’t know how much Mr. Banks has done for the city of Chicago as well as the country “outside of baseball”. The man founded the “live above and beyond foundation” Look it up. Also he made his own wine with all proceeds going to this foundation which has been doing great work for many years. Sure he was “just a great ball player” until he proved he was also a great human and civic leader after he left the game. He didn’t have to do that, but he did.

    • cohnjusack - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:30 PM

      For God’s sake, Paul Harvey has a Presidential Medal of Freedom. It’s a great honor, but it’s not the most amazing prestigious club ever or anything.

      Go here and scroll awhile… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidential_Medal_of_Freedom_recipients

      • skids003 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:22 AM

        Congrats to Ernie!! Is this one as prestigious as the Nobel Peace Prize?

  2. northstarsmitty - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    My guess it has something to do with Obama and his agenda for black, minority votes or yet another display to mask something he did to screw up and have all eyes on him. Nothing against either ball player, I love the idea that will get this reward! I just can’t help but to think this is another one of Obama’s personal motives

    • koufaxmitzvah - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      No way…. Really?

      Interwebz!1!

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      You are certainly entitled to your conspiratorial delusions, but this honor was established in 1963 and is an annual award. Aaron received his from George W Bush.

    • buffal0sportsfan - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:22 PM

      Someone’s been watching to much Fox news lately

    • cohnjusack - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:32 PM

      My guess it has something to do with Obama and his agenda for black, minority votes

      If you guy with this, am I allowed to say that George Bush awarding Doris Day the Presidential Medal of Freedom was for his pro-white agenda? Because it is equally stupid.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      He’s right. As a loyal Democrat, I can safely reveal that Obama’s devious plot to spread sharia law throughout the United States involves giving a ceremonial award to Ernie Banks.

      You’ve sniffed us out.

      Call off the plan, comrades. Smitty figured us out.

    • philtration - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      This is not going to help you with your “problem” smitty.
      maybe you should try some free samples of Enzyte.

    • skinsfanwill - Aug 9, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Black Minority votes? He can’t fucking run again you fucking idiot. He is already the president, he doesn’t need any votes. As soon as you get off your racist agenda, you will see that Nobody could have recovered from the disaster that George W. Bush created. Period!!!!!!!

  3. buffal0sportsfan - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Mr. Cub!!!!!!

  4. cohnjusack - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Fun little Ernie Banks fact:

    On May 8, 1973, Cubs manager Whitey Lockman was ejected in the 11th inning of a game against the San Diego Padres. Banks filled in as manager for the remainder of the game, which the Cubs won 3–2 in 12 innings. Thus, he was technically, if not officially,[10] MLB’s first black manager, predating Frank Robinson’s hiring by almost two years.

    –wikipedia

    • Jonny 5 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      I learn something new every day.

  5. cohnjusack - Aug 8, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    …and he did this!
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/18693233-418/ernie-banks-richard-dent-sign-letter-backing-gay-marriage.html

    Chicago sports legends Ernie Banks and Richard Dent are among a group of professional athletes who have signed their names to a letter urging the Illinois General Assembly to make gay marriage legal in the state.

    (sidenote: You know what’s great about this? I’m betting there’s a ton of people like me right now spending their time reading up on Ernie Banks)

  6. cubanxsenators - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    BHO: “Everybody’s sure that Minnie Minoso is not eligible, right? Really? Ok, we can go with Ernie Banks.”

    And y’all huffing and puffing about Loretta Lynn need to go watch Coal Minor’s Daughter (again). Watch it with a soon to be pubescent female relative. Discuss. And enjoy Levon Helm putting Hollywood actors to shame.

    • cubanxsenators - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:20 PM

      Or Coal Miner’s Daughter (though the former may be a somewhat reasonable title, too).

  7. delusionalcubsfan - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    “Banks has been a fantastic ambassador for the game and is, by all accounts a wonderful human being. ” Having met him a handful of times when he came into the restaurant where I used to work I can say this is definitely true. He would come in with a big smile. order his food and then would happily engage anyone and everyone. Sign autographs, take photos, shake hands and have a drink with whoever happened to be at the bar. It always made me day; he just exuded warmth and happiness.

  8. jgillmeister - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    In the reference books, under the definition of “Nice Guy,” you find Ernie’s picture. Considering the direction society has taken over time, that in itself is reason that he receive recognition.

    The world would be a much better place if there were more people like him.

    Congratulations, Ernie!

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