Banks, Ernie

Banks, Ernie (Ernest Banks), 1931–2015, American baseball player, b. Dallas, Tex. “Mr. Cub” began (1950) his baseball career with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro leagues, served in the army (1951–53), and had his contract sold to the National League's Chicago Cubs later in 1953. The first African American in the Cubs' lineup, he became the team's regular shortstop in 1954, switching to first base in 1961. An excellent fielder and hitter who was also noted for his sunny disposition, he was twice the league's Most Valuable Player (1958–59), won a Gold Glove in 1960, and was an 11-time All Star. He hit more than 40 home runs in a season five times, finishing with a career total of 512 (his 293 while shortstop was long a position record). He also had 2,583 hits and .274 career average when he retired in 1971. Banks, who coached for the Cubs from 1967 to 1973 as well, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.

See his Mr. Cub (with J. Enright, 1971).

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