SI Vault
Mark Kram
September 29, 1969
Unlike termites, immortals have seldom been in residence at Wrigley Field. The last colossus was one Hack Wilson, an endomorphic (5'6", 190 pounds) outfielder who finished each game looking like a chimney sweep. He played hard at night, too. He was religious in his rounds, preferring Al Capone's clubs, where he looked like some stumpy Italian cardinal dispensing to the poor. By morning he could be found slumbering in a tub full of ice in the clubhouse. His most famous words were: "Have another beer." He died in a gutter and is buried in Martinsburg, W. Va. beneath a simple inscription: ONE OF BASEBALL'S IMMORTALS, LOUIS R. (HACK) WILSON, RESTS HERE.
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September 29, 1969

A Tale Of Two Men And One City

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Banks also uses the telephone to spread his word. Earlier in the year he called up Frank Robinson in Baltimore and warned that he would be seeing him in October. He called up Lou Brock to say that, as gallant and great as the Cardinals are, it would be sensible for Lou to forget about "a run for our pennant." Once he reached Willie Mays, and this exchange followed:

Banks: Hello. Willie? That you?

Mays (sleepily): Who is this?

Banks : Who is this? It's Ernie Banks. Listen, Willie. First of all, I want to congratulate you on an outstanding performance last night. You're a wonderful player and fine person. You know that, don't you? We won again this afternoon. Did you know that?

Mays : I know that. Don't you think I know what's going on?

Banks: Wonderful. Then you know the Cubs are going all the way. Nothing's going to stop this team.

Mays : Are you calling me to tell me that?

Banks : I'm calling you to tell you to go out there tonight and give it your all against the Cardinals. You're a superstar! I want to see you play like a superstar.

Mays : Who's pitching for them?

Banks (positively, as though this were an advantage): Bob Gibson! You hit him. You always hit him. When you come up to the plate against Gibson it's murder. I feel sorry for him tonight.

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