Jan 31, 2015 2:09 PM by News Staff
CHICAGO (AP) - Fans and friends have paid tribute to legendary Chicago Cubs slugger Ernie Banks on what would have been his 84th birthday.
At today's memorial service in a Chicago church, the man known as "Mr. Cub" was remembered as much for his character as for his accomplishments on the ball field, including his 512 career home runs. Speaker after speaker recalled Banks' unflagging optimism and good cheer as well as his humility and care for others.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson began by leading the mourners in a rousing round of applause to celebrate Banks' birthday. The civil rights leader noted that today is also the 150th anniversary of Congress passing the 13th amendment abolishing slavery.
Banks was the Cubs' first black player when he joined the team in 1953, six years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier.
The Hall of Famer, two-time MVP, military veteran and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom died Jan. 23 of a heart attack.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.