With a smiling face with a shiny positivity radiating personality, Ernie Banks was one of the top baseball players to date. No matter how hard the days were, Ernie Banks always had a smile on his face. He believed in positivity, commitment, and faithfulness.
Ernie Banks was nicknamed “Mr. Cub” for being associated with Chicago Cubs. During 19 years baseball career, Ernie Banks played for Chicago Cubs only. He stayed with them even after his retirement. Banks joined Cubs as a coach and later an ambassador. It was the highest level of faithfulness one can regard.
Due to his radiant personality, the Chicagoans love him with their whole heart. They appreciate him as a baseball player as well as a person. He was so popular among Chicago Cubs that in 2008, before the season, a statue was unveiled in honor of him. Ernie Banks statue was placed right outside the Clark Street entrance. During the unveiling ceremony, baseball legends like Hank Aaron, Ron Santo, and Billy Williams paid homage to his legacy.
Decorated Career of “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks
Ernie Banks was not much interested in baseball during his childhood. However, his father motivated him to play with the baseball glove he bought him. His mother, on the other hand, wanted him to become a minister.
Since his school did not have a baseball team, Banks became part of a softball squad. Kansas City Monarchs did see his talent for baseball. But before anything can happen, Banks got drafted for U.S. Army, where he served in Germany during Korean War. After two years, Ernie Banks got discharged from Army. Later, he started playing baseball for Kansas City Monarchs.
Later he got signed by Chicago Cubs and became the first black man on the team. Ernie Banks was among a few baseball players, who started their career from Major League Baseball directly. He skipped the part of Minor League Baseball completely.
And since then, Ernie Banks kept shining like a true star. At the time of his retirement, Banks had a total of 512 home runs. Among these, 277 home runs were a career record for a shortstop. He also holds the record of Most Games Played Without a Postseason Appearance.
Being a shortstop and a first baseman, Ernie Banks had 2,583 hits and 1,636 Runs Batted In (RBIs). In 1977, Ernie Banks was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with 83.8% votes. Throughout his career, Ernie Banks won several accolades. Among many were, Gold Glove Award, which won RBI Leader and Home Run Leader twice. He also received Most Valuable Player Award twice and became All-Star fourteen times. Banks was also part of the Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame.
Due to a knee injury when serving in the Army, Banks had to back out from the race for playing Most Consecutive NL Games. His record was 717 consecutive games, while the record holder was Stan Musial with 895 consecutive games.
Life After Retirement
After retirement, Ernie Banks was appointed to Chicago Transit Board by the governor of Illinois. Due to his incredible performance throughout his career, Chicago Cubs retired his jersey number 14. Banks got selected as Cub’s Corporate Sales Representative. Later, he started serving as the team ambassador as well.
However, an author named Phil Rogers claimed in his book that Banks had no authority or influence as a team ambassador. When Chicago Cubs got sold to another company, Rogers made another claim. As per him, the new management believed Banks was crazy for roaming around. Another speculation was that he got fired from his position for being unreliable.
Later, Banks reconciled his relationship with Chicago Cubs and continued serving on behalf of the team. After Chicago Cubs won their 1984 game, they named Banks their honorary teammate. In 1999, the Society for American Baseball Research listed Ernie Banks among the 100 Greatest Baseball Players list.
In 2009, Library of Congress Living Legend recognized Ernie Banks as a valuable part of baseball history. He was named in the category of “people who made a momentous contribution to America’s diversified cultural, social heritage, and scientific values”. Ernie Banks was also a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Banks was also got inducted as a Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. He received the award for “Order of Lincoln” by the governor of Illinois.
During his life, Ernie Banks established a charity called “Live Above & Beyond Foundation”. The motto of the charity was to help the youth and assist the elderly people with issues of self-esteem and healthcare. Later, Banks also introduced a charity wine named “Ernie Banks 512 Chardonnay”. All the proceedings earned from the charity were donated to his charity foundation.
In 2015, Ernie Banks left this world after a fatal heart attack, at the age of 83. He was already suffering from dementia.
Ernie Banks – A Man with A Heart of Gold
There is no doubt that Ernie Banks had remained loyal to Chicago Clubs. Despite the allegations of having no value after being appointed as a team ambassador, his love for the Cubs never died. He remained committed to his nickname “Mr. Cub” and appreciated his team no matter what.
Ernie Banks was a man with affection and love for all. He cared for everyone in his life. Banks teammates and non-teammates were fond of his generosity, loyalty, and truthfulness. No one ever spoke against him and loved him for his exceptional personality. Even after with phenomenal wealth, Ernie Banks remained a down towards Earth human being. Instead of running after money and making assets, he pursued making the lives of others better.
When Chicago Cubs was sold, Banks was enthusiastic about buying it. In case, the existing company ever decided to sell it. It was hard for him to see his beloved team getting resold again and again. Chicago loves Ernie Banks for his devotion and pledges towards Chicago Cubs. Something that is rarely seen in other players.
Scott Trick has collected sports cards since the early 80’s and because of his love for collecting he started the website https://sportscardsauthority.com. His favorite players are Robin Yount and Hank Aaron, but he cherishes all sports and all cards like they are art.
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