CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today announced Opening Day activities honoring Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.

Festivities officially begin at 10:00 a.m. when the Cubs unveil a statue of Ernie Banks – “Mr. Cub” – in a ceremony to take place at Clark and Addison outside of the ballpark. Much of the day is dedicated to honoring the legendary Cubs infielder. Banks will be recognized in an on-field ceremony prior to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of the 2008 Chicago Cubs baseball season. He will also be singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the Seventh Inning Stretch.

In addition to Opening Day activities honoring Banks at the ballpark, the Chicago City Council has declared Opening Day, March 31, 2008, Ernie Banks Day in the City of Chicago. A complete copy of the resolution will be available Monday.

Banks batted .274 with 512 homers and 1,636 RBI for Chicago while his 47 home runs in 1958 set the N.L. single-season mark for long balls by a shortstop. He was the first Cub to have his number retired by the franchise. His No. 14 was retired August 22, 1982.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail