At the front entrance of Wrigley Field, a spectacular Ernie Banks statue towers over the crowd, reminding fans of Chicago's rich baseball history. The life-size effigy, located near the ballpark's Will Call ticket window, is a classic spot for a fan photo op.
However, more importantly, it's a great tribute to the Cubs' heritage and a symbol of Chicago's "lovable losers" status of middle part of the 1900s. Fans in Chicago had to wait over 100 years to see their team take home a World Series championship, and Mr. Banks never had the chance to win the big one. He's perhaps the greatest player in baseball history to have never won a World Series.
He's also one of the best to ever don a Chicago Cubs uniform. Banks, who passed away in 2015 at the tender age of 83, had the misfortune of playing for the Cubs during the 1950s, a time when the rest of the team wasn't very good. But even as the team around him struggled, Banks came to the park every day and never complained. He kept his head down, played hard and turned in incredible numbers.
With all that said, it makes perfect sense why his statue is featured in the front of the ballpark. All the Cubs legends -- Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Ron Santo and Sammy Sosa -- pale in comparison to the impact that Banks left on the franchise. The Banks statue is one of the top highlights of the walking tour outside Wrigley Field.
Elsewhere around the exterior of the park, statues of Santo and Harry Caray are featured. To this day, the Banks statue remains the top photo op spot among the three statues outside Wrigley Field.
What else should you check out on your next visit to Wrigley Field? There's a lot of action and plenty to see immediately outside the park, particularly of the food and drink variety. Nuts on Clark, Chicago's iconic popcorn store, is just a hop and a skip away from Wrigley Field. Additionally, Murphy's Bleachers -- a historic sports bar -- has been packing fans in for decades.
It's located immediately across from Wrigley Field, by the bleacher area. Soaking in the sights and sounds of Wrigleyville is an absolute must on Cubs game day. After hitting up the Banks statue, Nuts on Clark and Murphy's Bleachers bar, make your way over to The Cubby Bear for some top-notch day drinking. And no Wrigley Field visit would be complete without a stop at Nola Cafe & Bar, located on Clark Street.