• Let's Play Two

  • The Legend of Mr. Cub, the Life of Ernie Banks
  • By: Ron Rapoport
  • Narrated by: Charley Steiner
  • Length: 15 hrs and 31 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)

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Let's Play Two  By  cover art

Let's Play Two

By: Ron Rapoport
Narrated by: Charley Steiner
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Publisher's summary

The definitive and revealing biography of Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks, one of America's most iconic, beloved, and misunderstood baseball players, by acclaimed journalist Ron Rapoport.

Ernie Banks, the first-ballot Hall of Famer and All-Century Team shortstop, played in 14 All-Star Games, won two MVPs, and twice led the Major Leagues in home runs and runs batted in. He outslugged Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Mickey Mantle when they were in their prime, but while they made repeated World Series appearances in the 1950s and 60s, Banks spent his entire career with the woebegone Chicago Cubs, who didn't win a pennant in his adult lifetime.

Today, Banks is remembered best for his signature phrase, "Let's play two", which has entered the American lexicon and exemplifies the enthusiasm that endeared him to fans everywhere. But Banks' public display of good cheer was a mask that hid a deeply conflicted, melancholy, and often quite lonely man. Despite the poverty and racism he endured as a young man, he was among the star players of baseball's early days of integration who were reluctant to speak out about civil rights. Being known as one of the greatest players never to reach the World Series also took its toll. At one point, Banks even saw a psychiatrist to see if that would help. It didn't. Yet Banks smiled through it all, enduring the scorn of Cubs manager Leo Durocher as an aging superstar and never uttering a single complaint.

Let's Play Two is based on numerous conversations with Banks and on interviews with more than 100 of his family members, teammates, friends, and associates as well as oral histories, court records, and thousands of other documents and sources. Together, they explain how Banks was so different from the caricature he created for the public. The audiobook tells of Banks' early life in segregated Dallas, his years in the Negro Leagues, and his difficult life after retirement; and it features compelling portraits of Buck O'Neil, Philip K. Wrigley, the Bleacher Bums, the doomed pennant race of 1969, and much more from a long-lost baseball era.

©2019 Ron Rapoport (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"Rapoport's years of rapport with Banks manifests itself in the completion of a previously unfinished project, now much richer than the original intent because of updated perspective. In his acknowledgements, Rapoport, a former L.A. Times and L.A. Daily News columnist, writes that those who helped him finish this knew Banks as a 'joyful, melancholy, humble, complicated, companionable, lonely man...[who] remained imprisoned in an image of one simplistic dimension.'"—Tom Hoffarth, Los Angeles Times

"Well told...an extensively researched portrayal\nof the public figure as well as the lesser-known, private Banks."—The Washington Post

"Growing up, every kid I knew wanted to be Ernie Banks, Chicago's 'Mr. Cub.' But there was much more to Ernie than his MVP seasons or his famously sunny outward demeanor. Let's Play Two captures the best of Banks' playing moments, but also delves deeply into a man who did not seem to want you to know more than you could see. Rapoport, a legendary Chicago sportswriter, has written a fascinating, readable, and impeccably researched book about a man who was a Hall of Famer, but also a decided creature of his times."—Scott Turow

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