On Jan. 23, 2015, the world said goodbye to the legendary Ernie banks.
At the age of 22, Banks began his first of 19 season in the MLB with the Chicago Cubs in September of 1953 and finished in 1971. He also played 11 seasons as a National League All-Star, and made his first appearance in an All-Star Game in 1955.
Banks received two consecutive National League Most Valuable Player awards in 1958 and 1959, and his only Gold Glove award for shortstop in 1960.
Banks started off as a MLB shortstop and first baseman. Eventually he transferred to playing left field during the 1961 season. But, later during that season made the final change back to first base.
Banks only played for the Chicago Cubs and was the team’s first black player. He did not let that affect the way he played, he just wanted to play ball.
In 1958, Banks hit .313 and led the National League with 47 home runs and in 1959 he hit .304 and had 45 homeruns. Banks led the league with 129 RBI’s in 1958 and 143 in 1959. In 1960, Banks hit a league-leading 41 home runs and had 117 RBI’s with the Chicago Cubs.
In 1968, Banks hit 32 home runs, had 83 RBI’s, and finished with a .246 batting average. Banks was 32 years old during this season.
In 1969, Banks made his eleventh and final All-Star Game appearance.
He hit his 500th home run on May 12, 1970 at Wrigley Field. On Dec. 1, 1971, he retired from playing, but continued to coach for the Chicago Cubs until 1973.
Banks finished his baseball career with a total of 512 home runs. He hold a Cubs record for number of games played (2,528), at-bats (9,421), extra-base hits (1,009), and total bases (4,706).
Overall, Banks was a phenomenal player and will always be remembered as Mr. Cub, Mr. Sunshine, the Legend.