Manny P. here…
Ernie Banks, the baseball player known as Mr. Cub, has died. He played nineteen seasons at Wrigley Field in Chicago, and was voted to the All-Star Game 14 times. Banks is most famous for cheerfully coining the phrase: It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame… Let’s play two, due to his love for double-headers.
Ernie was born and raised in Dallas. He joined the Negro Leagues in 1950, and played for the Kansas City Monarchs. He served in the military for two years, and then returned to the Monarchs before beginning his Major League career in September 1953. Banks had his best seasons in 1958 and 1959, when he received back-to-back National League Most Valuable Player awards. He was the first player from a losing team to win the NL MVP. Banks finished his career with 512 home runs, and his 277 home runs as a shortstop were a career record at the time of his retirement. Banks holds the Major League record for the most games played (2,528) without a postseason appearance.
Banks was active in the Chicago community during and after his tenure with the Cubs. He founded many charitable organizations, and became the first black Ford Motor Company dealer in the United States. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, and later named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. The Cubs retired Banks’s uniform number 14 in 1982 the first player in the team’s history. No other numbers were retired by the team for another five years, when Billy Williams received the honor. In 2013, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to sports. A statue of Banks sits outside Wrigley Field.
He was one of Chicago’s greatest city ambassadors. Never losing his boundless enthusiasm, the ever-sunny Ernie Banks was 83.
Until next time> “never forget”