The legacy of Ernie Banks, ‘Mr. Cub’

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Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks died at the age of 83 Friday night, and many fans and teammates looked back fondly at the legacy left behind by "Mr. Cub."

Banks passed away at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Details of his death have not been released, but for years to come, Chicagoans and baseball fans will remember the man who defined the Cubs.

Banks began his professional career at the age of 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.

An outpouring of support following Banks's passing continued Saturday -- including from the White Sox community.

Even at the White Sox's "SoxFest" Saturday, Ernie Banks memorabilia could be seen.

White Sox fans said they respected Banks, a guy who played hard every day and who fans said was a great ambassador for Chicago.

After the Jackie Robinson West little league national championship last year, it was “Mr. Cub,” that hometown hero, who talked to the boy and their coach.

“They know those were guys in front of them who set the tone, like Ernie Banks, who set the tone to even play the game of baseball,” Jackie Robinson West Manager Darold Butler said Saturday.

Banks was the first African-American to play in a Cubs game, playing a handful of contests in 1953.

PHOTOS: Ernie Banks through the years

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.

Banks retired following the 1971 season. 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.

Related: Fans, players pay Tribute to Ernie Banks on social media 

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1 Comment

  • Take it to the Banks

    Hey, Banks was a great guy. But only really had 5 great years (1956-60). The rest were 40 homers, but a mediocre batting average and few
    runs scored. He was the poster child for the “let’s play two” , lovable losers. While Aaron and Mays played in the playoffs and World Series, Banks never played a single post season game. He and Santo did not like each other and seldom spoke. As a fact, Banks said the collapse in 1969 was started by Santo in New York after a game with the Mets. Nice guys DO finish last.

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