The last days of Ernie Banks

5 Comments

This is not a fun read, but it’s probably a necessary one.

It’s about the final years of Ernie Banks, written by Chicago journalist and would-be Ernie Banks autobiography ghost writer, Ron Rapoport. The two of them got together often in Banks’ last years, attempting to write a book but not getting too far.

Rapoport writes about Banks’ loneliness. And a complexity that, it seems, any public person is allowed to have except for Ernie Banks. Banks was denied this, partially by a persona that seemed so happy and carefree that it didn’t fit enter into his fans’ consciousness. Partially — mostly? — because the man himself was OK with allowing that part of his personality to dominate due to loneliness and unhappiness in his personal life.

It’s certainly a sad read, but it doesn’t describe a life terribly foreign from that of a great many people as they age. We all likely know someone who fit this general profile in their final years. And, as I said above, it’s probably a necessary read, as it’s another reminder that athletes — even the most famous athletes who we consider to be avatars of positivity — are human too. For all of the good and the bad that entails.