At the start of each of his three seasons as Cub manager, Leo Durocher has tried to replace Ernie Banks at first base. "I've retired him three years in a row," says Leo, "but I guess he just gets tired of seeing those young kids I keep putting in his place." That must be the only way Banks gets tired because at 37 he is hitting with the same kind of youthful power that twice made him the National League's Most Valuable Player. Last week the slender, 15-year veteran slammed his 31st and 32nd homers of the season. In doing so, he set an unusual pattern for modern stars. While it is true that Tris Speaker hit .389 when he was 37 and Babe Ruth clouted 41 home runs and collected 137 RBIs at the same age, neither Willie Mays, at 37, nor Mickey Mantle, at 36, was a shadow of his old self, even as Banks set about hitting more homers than he had in six years. The quiet Texan, who now has hit 474 home runs, points out that his top physical condition—he weighs less now than he did 10 years ago—and a smoother swing that he perfected this year have helped sustain his power. The Cubs are glad he has kept it. Because of the hitting of Banks and teammate Billy Williams, who has belted 22 home runs since the All-Star break and last week took over the league lead in RBIs (97), Chicago has been able to rebound from a poor start. On July 12 the Cubs were in ninth place, but since then they have moved up to fourth and beat the first-place Cardinals' record over that stretch. Already Banks is looking forward to next season. Not only does he expect to be on a pennant contender. Once Durocher finishes trying out his young pretenders, Banks expects to be back at first, chasing after his 500th homer.