|Shortstop / First baseman|
January 31, 1931 |
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|September 17, 1953 for the Chicago Cubs|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 26, 1971 for the Chicago Cubs|
|Run batted in||1,636|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Vote||83.8% (first ballot)|
Ernest "Ernie" Banks (born January 31, 1931), nicknamed "Mr. Cub", is a retired professional baseball player. He played as a shortstop and first baseman in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 19 seasons on the National League's (NL) Chicago Cubs team, from 1953 through 1971. Banks was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977 and the Major League Baseball All-Century Team, in 1999.
Early Life 
Playing career 
Banks signed with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League in 1950 and broke into the Major Leagues in 1953 with the Chicago Cubs as their first black player. He played for the Cubs his entire career, starting at shortstop and moving to first base in 1962.
Initially Banks' double play partner was Gene Baker, the second black player on the Cubs, and Banks' roommate on road trips. Thus making Banks and Baker, the first all black double play combination in major league history. When Steve Bilko would play first base, Cubs' announcer and home-town rooter Bert Wilson would refer to the Banks-Baker-Bilko double play combination as "Bingo to Bango to Bilko". This combination would not last quite as long as "Tinker to Evers to Chance", but Banks would become a Cubs institution.
Banks wore number 14 as a Cub, and is the first of only six Cubs players who have had their number retired by the organization. The number was originally worn by Guy Bush in 1932, the first year the Cubs wore numbers on their jerseys.
Banks was known for his catchphrase of, "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame... Let's play two!", expressing his wish to play a doubleheader every day out of his pure love for the game of baseball, especially in his self-described "friendly confines of Wrigley Field." In 1955, he set the record for grand slams in a single season with five, a record that stood for over thirty years.
Banks won the National League Most Valuable Player Award twice, in 1958 and 1959 despite the fact that the Cubs were not pennant contenders during those seasons. He became the first shortstop in the history of the National League to win the MVP award in back to back seasons. Jimmy Dykes reportedly remarked that, "Without him, the Cubs would finish in Albuquerque!"
On September 2, 1965, Banks hit his 400th home run, and five years later, on May 12, 1970 at Chicago's Wrigley Field, hit his 500th home run. Banks finished his career with 512 home runs, and his 277 homers as a shortstop were the most ever at the time of his retirement. (Cal Ripken, Jr now holds the record for most homers as a shortstop with 345.) Banks holds Cubs records for games played (2,528), at-bats (9,421), extra-base hits (1,009), and total bases (4,706).
From the late 1960s onward, Banks was hobbled by bad knees. However, his legendary status made it impossible for his final major-league manager, Leo Durocher, to keep him out of the lineup for any significant period of time.
Coaching career 
On December 1, 1971, Banks retired as a player, and the Cubs signed him as a coach.
On May 8, 1973, Cubs manager Whitey Lockman was ejected in the 11th inning of a game against the San Diego Padres. Banks filled in as manager for the remainder of the game, which the Cubs won 3–2 in 12 innings. Thus, he was technically, if not officially, MLB's first black manager, predating Frank Robinson's hiring by almost two years.
|Ernie Banks's number 14 was retired by the Chicago Cubs in 1982.|
Banks is regarded as one of the most popular baseball players in Chicago sports history. He was a constant promoter of the Cubs and of daytime play at Wrigley Field. His popularity and positive attitude led to the nicknames, "Mr. Cub" and "Mr. Sunshine".
In 1977, in his first year of eligibility, Banks was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The beginning of Banks' induction speech that August 8 leads off the Baseball's Greatest Hits, Vol. II, CD. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn is heard presenting Banks, who says, "Thank you very much, Commissioner, for the fine introduction. We've got the setting - sunshine, fresh air; we've got the team behind us so . . . 'Let's play two!"
In 1982, his Chicago Cubs uniform Number 14 became the first to be retired by the Cubs.
On March 31, 2008, a statue of Banks was unveiled outside Wrigley Field. Upon its unveiling, the base of the statue was revealed to contain a typographical error, reading "Lets play two" rather than the grammatically correct "Let's play two". Two days later, sculptor Lou Cella came down to the ballpark early in the morning and carved the apostrophe.
Writing for the Associated Press, Joe Reichler reported on the eve of the 1960 World Series that the Milwaukee Braves were prepared to part with pitchers Joey Jay, Carlton Willey and Don Nottebart, outfielder Billy Bruton, shortstop Johnny Logan, first baseman Frank Torre and cash to pry Banks from the Cubs. The deal never materialized.
During Banks' career, the Cubs were rarely in contention despite his brilliance. They failed to finish in the first division every season until late in his career. Consequently, Banks holds the Major League record of most games played without a postseason appearance (2528).
Banks made a guest appearance in the eighth season episode "Dancing with Weezie" of the sitcom Married... with Children, appearing in a new sports bar in Chicago.
Banks established his own charity, the Live Above & Beyond Foundation, to eliminate prejudice, support programs that enhance neighborhoods and relieve discrimination among various age groups and races. In 2008, Banks released a charity wine called Ernie Banks 512 Chardonnay, a nod to his 512 career home runs, with all of his proceeds donated to his foundation.
Banks, along with Johnny Bench and Frank Robinson appeared on Yes Dear as disgruntled players because Big Jimmy (played by Jerry Van Dyke) had stolen the team equipment from the Buffalo Bisons over 30 years ago.
Despite his advancing age, in late 2008 Banks and his wife, Liz Banks, adopted a daughter. He currently lives in the Los Angeles area.
Years led league by statistical category 
- Shortstop Major League Leader:
- Fielding Average - 1 time
- Fewest errors - 1 time
- National League Leader:
See also 
- First black MLB players by team and date
- List of Major League Baseball Home Run Records
- 500 home run club
- List of baseball players who went directly to the major leagues
- DHL Hometown Heroes
- List of top 300 Major League Baseball home run hitters
- List of major league players with 2,000 hits
- List of Major League Baseball players with 400 doubles
- List of Major League Baseball players with 1000 runs
- List of Major League Baseball players with 1000 RBI
- List of Major League Baseball RBI champions
- List of Major League Baseball home run champions
- MLB consecutive games played streaks
- "The Ballplayers - Ernie Banks Biography". Baseballlibrary.com. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
- "Fete for Banks Here Tuesday." The Dallas Morning News, 9 October 1955. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
- "Grand Slams Single Season Leaders by Baseball Almanac". Baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
- Nemec, David; Flatow, Scott (2008). Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Figures. New York, NY: Penguin Group. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0.
- "Ernie Banks", The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
- "Ernie Banks Home Run Log (Batting)". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
- Ripken: Records and Achievements. - SportingNews.com
- "Cubs Retired Numbers". Cubs.com. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
- "Banks statue gets a chip off new block". Chicago Tribune. 2008-04-03. Retrieved 22 April 2009.
- "Braves Offering Cubs a Big Bundle for Banks". Toronto Star. October 4, 1960. p. 14.
- "Most Games Played with no Post-Season Appearance". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
- Strahler, Steven. - "Ernie Banks Eyes Bid for Chicago Cubs". - Crain's Chicago Business. - June 9, 2006
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Ernie Banks|
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Ernie Banks at the Baseball Hall of Fame
- Ernie Banks - BaseballLibrary.com
- Ernie Banks' oral history video excerpts at The National Visionary Leadership Project
- Ernie Banks Biography - The HistoryMakers