Where to donate to Hurricane Maria and Mexico Earthquake victims

Cubs legend Ernie Banks has died at 83

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CHICAGO -- Cubs legend Ernie Banks has died at the age of 83. 'Mr. Cub' passed away Friday night at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Details of his death have not been released but the City of Chicago is joining the Chicago Cubs in remembering the man who made history on the North Side and earned just about every honor and award but a World Series.

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts released the following statement Friday night:

"Words cannot express how important Ernie Banks will always be to the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago and Major League Baseball. He was one of the greatest players of all time.  He was a pioneer in the major leagues. And and more importantly, he was the warmest and most sincere person I've ever known.  Approachable, ever optimistic and kind hearted, Ernie Banks is and always will be Mr. Cub. My family and I grieve the loss of such a great and good-hearted man, but we look forward to celebrating Ernie's life in the days ahead."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement describing Banks as a great Chicagoan and an even greater ball player

"Ernie Banks was more than a baseball player. He was one of Chicago's greatest ambassadors. He loved this city as much as he loved -- and lived for -- the game of baseball. This year, during every Cubs game, you can bet that No.14 will be watching over his team. And if we're lucky, it'll be a beautiful day for not just one ballgame, but two. My deepest sympathy to his wife, Liz, family, and friends."

Banks began his professional baseball career at 19 when he signed a contract with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues. After two years in the army, Banks' contract was sold by the Monarchs to the Cubs for $10,000.

Banks was the first African-American to play in a Cubs game, playing a handful of contests in 1953. Starting in 1954, he rarely left the Cubs lineup for 18 years. Banks rose to stardom in 1955 with a 44 home run season. He won the National League MVP in 1958 and 1959.

Despite Banks' success, the Cubs continued to lose--until 1969. The Cubs became a contender that summer, only to collapse late in the season and miss out on the playoffs. Banks continued to put up numbers, hitting his 500th home run in 1970.

Banks retired following the 1971 season with 512 career home runs. He continued to serve as a Cubs coach, instructor and administrator. Banks was bestowed with the Presidential Medal of Honor at the White House in 2013. His number was the first retired by the Cubs and in 2008 the team unveiled a statue of Banks off the corner of Clark and Addison.

Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. released this statement late Friday:

"One of the greatest baseball players in the history of the game, a Hall of Famer, Ernie Banks, has passed away.  He was one of the great crossover baseball players of his day as he made the transition from the Negro Baseball Leagues to Major League Baseball.  He was not only a great baseball player, but beyond his talent as a shortstop and eventually a first baseman, was his character, his eternal optimism – “let’s play two today“ - and his personality was a racial bridge builder.  He treated all people with dignity and respect.  He never stopped reaching out to bridge the racial chasms.  I am proud to say that the Rainbow PUSH Coalition led the fight to get a statue of Ernie Banks at Wrigley Field and I’m glad that it happened and he saw it in his lifetime.  “Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub, you will be missed by Chicago baseball fans especially, but baseball fans everywhere will miss this hero.”

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

38 comments

  • Robert Littlejohn

    It is my hope that the Cubs will indeed win the 2015 World Series and dedicate the trophy and this coming season to Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks! RIP Ernie! I will dearly miss you! I lived to see you play.

  • Phil Finkel

    RIP my childhood hero, friend, and patient!
    From my first Cub’s game in 1962, when he came out of the dugout to shake my hand and take this photo, I followed and cheered on this great ballplayer and great guy, I couldn’t wait till someday we would meet again. All thru school everybody knew that when the uniforms were passed out, Phil got #14! Then in 2000 my dreams came true and he became a patient of mine. I’ll miss the times we spent in my office talking about baseball and about life, ( while patients were waiting ). One of the highlights of my life was spending the day with him and his family opening day, 2008 when they unveiled his statue. He truly loved life and people….His dream was to win a nobel peace prize. My deepest condolences to his family.
    RIP my childhood hero, friend, and patient!
    From my first Cub’s game in 1962, when he came out of the dugout to shake my hand and take this photo, I followed and cheered on this great ballplayer and great guy, I couldn’t wait till someday we would meet again. All thru school everybody knew that when the uniforms were passed out, Phil got #14! Then in 2000 my dreams came true and he became a patient of mine. I’ll miss the times we spent in my office talking about baseball and about life, ( while patients were waiting ). One of the highlights of my life was spending the day with him and his family opening day, 2008 when they unveiled his statue. He truly loved life and people….His dream was to win a nobel peace prize. My deepest condolences to his family.

    Phil Finkel

  • tam

    Mr. Cub and all your team mates you played with for so many years You Guys were the Cubs and the one and only Cubs what a Great Team Lineup for so many years and Great Memories of those games that I had the pleasure of being a part of my years to see and watch Ernie Banks and that great team you played with at Wrigley Field!

  • Gina Powell

    On behalf of the Powell Family, we would like to express our deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers, to The Ernie Banks Family. May ‘Mr. Cub’ R.I.P. with the other ANGELS. God Bless/God Speed and, as ‘Mr. Cub’ would say, “Take Two”!