Building Community Through Better Relationships

Lets Play Two – Ernie Banks’ Winning Spirit

The world recently observed the passing of Ernie Banks. His trademark statement, “Let’s play two”, declared unyielding optimism among proud Chicago Cubs fans. His optimism was only surpassed by his irrepressible talent. In short, he was great because he was good at his job and absolutely loved performing it. His poor performing teams did not distract from his optimism, leadership, nor productivity. Anyone seeking to improve performance, particularly when facing potentially unsurmountable opposition, can benefit from three key characteristics of Ernie Banks’ success and longevity as a cultural icon.

Take Pride in Your Work
Greatness is a recipe. Longevity does not produce greatness. Skill sets do not produce greatness. Attitude does not produce greatness. But combining these ingredients, then mixing them with personal pride does result in greatness. Serve this mixture with dignity and the result is a legendary performer. Whether you are a shortstop, academician, or CEO, performing with dignity separates you from so-called peers. Furthermore, greatness is not static. Skills must be continually refined and improved. Take pride in greatness and contribute to it daily. A Hall of Fame performer is not based on one game, nor season. It takes an entire career. Icons need even longer.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Winning is a group activity. Even sole contributors need coaches, support staff, and mentors to contribute to success. Regarding leaders, if you don’t have followers, then you are simply someone taking a walk. With a mindset of “Let’s play two”, great leaders demonstrate approaching tasks with enthusiasm and optimism. Persistence pays. The leader’s role is to remind the team and their fans of that fact. Furthermore, in the spirit of contributing to a legacy, the leader may not deliver the desired result, but must undoubtedly sustain progress toward the ultimate achievement.

To the Victor Goes the Spoils
While individual contributions are important, team victories are better! Unfortunately, not every player or leader gets to enjoy the ultimate rewards in their field. So, what happens when winning a championship is not a realistic option? Opportunities still abound to perform with excellence and earn available rewards. While in Ernie Banks’ case the reward of a World Championship eluded him, he did earn a Presidential Medal of Freedom! The medal is presented to those who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” His exceptional baseball statistics, “Let’s play two” attitude, and assumed ambassadorship for America’s Pastime, rewarded him with national recognition as a hero by contributing to the game he loved and the communities that he represented.

Ernie Banks played on bad teams. In 19 seasons he never played in the post-season. But, his legacy is of a player who played hard, displayed dignity, and produced at a legendary level. Similarly, other professionals have the choice to approach each work day and encounter with dignity and optimism. “Let’s play two” is a simple statement reflecting a champion who loves his work and contributes excellence. Excellence is an available choice for anyone. So, let’s salute Ernie Banks and his spirit of “Let’s play two”! That spirit may not yield a World Series champion, nor guarantee playing for a winning team. But, earning a Presidential Medal of Freedom is a reward that speaks greatly to character and success. He uplifted our world. And, through his example we can too!!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond


January 25, 2015 - Posted by | Better Community, Better World | , , , , , ,


  1. Well said Mr. Hunter.

    Comment by DFears | January 26, 2015 | Reply

  2. “Regarding leaders, if you don’t have followers, then you are simply someone taking a walk.”

    I like that one Glenn.

    Comment by Jason | January 29, 2015 | Reply

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