Photo-matched to cover of Sports Illustrated magazine!1969 Ernie Banks Game Worn Fielder's Glove. Born the second of a dozen children to Eddie and Essie Banks in the segregated South, Banks attended high school less than a mile from the Heritage Auctions world headquarters in Dallas, where he lettered in basketball, football and track. He was coaxed into the sport of baseball by his father, who bought him his first glove for three dollars at a local shop and bribed his reluctant son to practice with nickels and dimes.
But by the time the young Texan had made his way to the Majors, debuting with the 1953 Chicago Cubs, Banks' affection for our national pastime was profound, and he'd quickly earn the nickname "Mr. Cub" for his infectious "Let's play two!" exuberance. Despite ownership of the career record for most games played without a postseason appearance (2,538), Banks never regretted his allegiance to the hapless Cubs and remains arguably the most beloved figure ever to call Wrigley home.
Though the first African-American player in Cubs franchise history earned his Cooperstown bronze and 500 Home Run Club membership with the lumber, he was no slouch with the leather either, claiming the 1960 National League Gold Glove at the shortstop position in 1960. The offered Wilson A2810 derives from Banks' service at the first sack, where he spent the second half of his ninteen seasons of Cubs service.
The glove exhibits magnificent game wear, likely multiple seasons' worth, but we can peg use directly to the historic and heartbreaking 1969 campaign that saw the Cubs lead the National League East for 155 days before dropping seventeen of the final twenty-five contests to make the Mets "amazin'." An included issue of the September 8, 1969 edition of Sports Illustrated pictures Banks on the cover keeping aspiring Hit King Pete Rose close to first while wearing this glove. Not visible in the picture due to the angle, but clearly vintage, is a handwritten "Banks" in scripted marker on the thumb.
There is no relic more personal than a fielder's glove, which remains a ballplayer's most constant companion and quite literally molds itself to the hand and will of its owner through the passage of time. Bats and uniforms come and go, but a well broken-in glove is the sport's most indispensible tool. Banks' offered model entered the collecting hobby after the close of the 1969 season, when Banks donated a bag of equipment to his daughter's private school for a fundraising auction.
As Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Red Sox fans will confirm, there is a certain nobility in the love for a team unrequited by Championship glory, and broken hearts heal back stronger. Perhaps only crushing disappointment is more emblematic of the Chicago Cubs than is Ernie Banks, making this 1969 model one of the most decidely "Cubs" artifacts ever offered. LOA from Heritage Auctions. LOA from Joe Phillips.
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