Hoellen’s Hero

Following up on a late Chicago alderman’s suggestion from 41 years ago, the Cubs will unveil a statue of Ernie Banks on opening day.

In 1967, calling the Chicago Picasso “a heroic monument to some dead dodo,” John Hoellen, a Republican alderman from the 47th Ward, introduced a resolution demanding the city replace the Picasso with a statue of Cubs first baseman Ernie Banks. Forty-one years later, the Cubs are finally following up on Hoellen’s suggestion: On March 31st—opening day—the team will unveil a statue of Mr. Cub by the sculptor Lou Cella, the co-creator of the statue of the broadcaster Harry Caray outside Wrigley Field.Hoellen, who died in 1999, had another prescient idea: In 1968, after the demise of Riverview, the beloved North Side amusement park, he suggested replacing Meigs Field with another amusement park. Next we’ll learn that bringing the Olympics to Chicago was Hoellen’s idea too.

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