Cubs legend Ernie Banks celebrates birthday

January 29, 2011 8:46:23 PM PST
Legendary Cubs player and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks is celebrating his 80th birthday with a party in downtown Chicago and a declaration from the governor.

Banks marked the occasion with hundreds of friends, family and celebrities at Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse Saturday night.

What do you get a guy who already has a statue of himself outside the ballpark where he played for 19 years? For starters, a giant birthday cheesecake with candles on it and a toast from his many friends -- including Gov. Pat Quinn.

"What a great life he's had, 80 years strong," Quinn said. "He has a servant's heart."

"Ernie, he blames me for this party. He's over there saying, 'This is all your fault, this is all your fault,'" said Harry Carey's widow Dutchie.

The governor also declared it Ernie Banks Day in the state of Illinois.

Bank's retired in 1971, and he remains the Cubs' all-time leader in games played.

Banks turned 80 on Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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