I asked Ron Rapoport for some perspective on his excellent story about Ernie Banks in Chicago Magazine. He reveals another side of the public happy-go-lucky Mr. Cub as an elderly man who often was lonely and even tormented by his demons.
Often, fans don’t like to have anyone tinker with the image of their heroes. And they don’t come any bigger than Banks in Chicago.
I did a short piece about Ernie for a web site in Los Angeles when he died and was surprised at how much attention it got.
Thinking things over, I realized there was more to the story and thought people might be interested. I didn’t really stop to think about whether people would not want to see Ernie portrayed this way and as it turned out, the response has been unanimously positive. Nobody has bawled me out for tampering with their memories of Ernie.
I think we’ve entered an age where we understand celebrities in general and athletes in particular are not one-dimensional heroes but rather fallible human beings.
I think it’s possible to know the truth about Ernie and still love him.