Ernie Banks, known world-wide as Mr. Cub, became the Chicago Cubs’ first African-American player on Sept. 17, 1953. He went on to become a two-time National League Most Valuable Player and 14-time all-star.
Mr. Cub passed away on Friday at the age of 83.
Banks, who hit 512 home runs and collected 1,636 RBI, was inducted in the MLB Hall of Fame in 1977.
Renowned for his sunny disposition, Banks loved the game and even when the Cubs were struggling, would proclaim “Let’s play two!”. Banks was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom during ceremonies at the White House in 2013, recognizing his goodwill.
Banks started his professional career in 1950 with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues. He took two years off to serve in the military, then he joined the Cubs.
Banks’ best season came in 1959 when he led the National League with 143 RBI and clubbed 43 home runs. He won a Gold Glove at shortstop in 1960. He would club more than 40 home runs five times.
Banks finished his career with his beloved Cubs, playing all 19 of his seasons with the Northsiders. Unfortunately for Banks, his career never took him to the postseason. He’s considered one of the greatest players of all time not to make a playoff appearance.
Banks was involved in the city of Chicago and with Little Leagues all around the city and suburbs. He was an ambassador for the city and for the game of baseball.
You don’t have to know a lot about baseball to have heard about Mr. Cub. He lived a great life and his memory will last forever.