Ernie Banks Dies At Age 83
“Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks, the Hall of Fame slugger and two-time MVP passed Friday 1/23/2015; causes not known.
Ernie Banks, known simply as “Mr. Cub” after hitting 512 home runs over a 19-year career.
Best known for his effusive “Let’s Play Two” phrase that epitomized the joy he felt for the game and brought to Wrigley Field, Banks was an 11-time All-Star, a first-ballot Hall of Famer and won consecutive National League MVP awards in 1958-59. Yet, he never appeared in a postseason game, toiling for Chicago Cubs teams that famously finished in the bottom half of the National League in his first 14 seasons. His 277 home runs as a shortstop rank second in baseball history to Cal Ripken Jr.
Ernest “Ernie” Banks (January 31, 1931 – January 23, 2015), nicknamed “Mr. Cub” and “Mr. Sunshine”, was a Major League Baseball (MLB) shortstop and first baseman for 19 seasons, 1953 through 1971. He spent his entire MLB career with the Chicago Cubs. He was a National League (NL) All-Star for 11 seasons, playing in 14 All-Star Games.
Banks was born and raised in Dallas. He entered Negro league baseball in 1950, playing for the Kansas City Monarchs. He served in the US military for two years and returned to the Monarchs before beginning his major league career in September 1953. Banks made his first MLB All-Star Game appearance in 1955. He received two consecutive National League Most Valuable Player awards in 1958 and 1959, and received his first and only Gold Glove award for shortstop in 1960.
He was transferred to the left field position during the 1961 season followed by a final change to first base that year. Cubs manager Leo Durocher became frustrated with Banks in the mid-1960s, saying that the slugger’s performance was faltering, but he felt that he was unable to remove Banks from the lineup due to the star’s popularity among Cubs fans. Banks was a player-coach from 1967 through 1971. In 1970, Banks hit his 500th career home run. In 1972, he joined the Cubs coaching staff after his retirement as a player.E