After a season with the Kansas City Monarchs, he signed a contract with the Chicago Cubs, becoming the first Black player for the Cubs. Banks debuted in the major leagues with the Cubs on September 17, 1953, wearing the number 14.
By 1957 he was one of the most feared power hitters in the league. The late umpire Tom Gorman once recalled that, “in 1957 Banks was knocked down four times by four different pitchers-Don Drysdale, Bob Purkey, Bob Friend, and Jack Sanford. And each time he was knocked down, Banks hit their next pitch out of the park.”
Cubs fans affectionately refer to Banks as “Mr. Cub,” for his years of dedicated service to their team. Banks is the Cubs’ all-time leader in games played (2,528), at-bats (9,421), home runs (512), total bases (4,706) and extra-base hits (1,009); ranks second in hits (2,583) and RBIs (1,636); third in years (19) and doubles (407); fifth in runs (1,305) and singles (1,574); and seventh in triples (90) and walks (763).
|The Cubs also honored Banks by placing his statue in front of the entrance to Wrigley Field on March 31, 2008.|
|In 2013 President Barack Obama awarded Banks the Presidental Medal of Freedom in a White House Ceremony.|
Ernie Banks is buried at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.
Compiled by, Neil Gale, Ph.D.