Remember When: Ernie Banks

We are starting a new series called “Remember When”, looking back on some of the Cubs greats from the past every Monday. Out of all the Cubs greats from the past, we have to start out with the greatest Cub of All-Time, Ernie Banks “Mr. Cub”. 

Banks played for the Cubs from 1953 to 1971, 19 seasons in total and was a 14-time All-Star, 2-time MVP, Gold Glove recipient in 1960, 2-time NL home run leader, and a 2-time NL RBI leader all with the Cubs. Banks was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame back in 1977, with 83.8% of the vote on his first ballot, and the only inductee that year. 

Earning the nickname, “Mr. Cub” Banks had to be a pretty good ball player back in the day. We are just kidding, we all know the Ernie Banks is a Cubs legend and will forever be remembered. He hit 512 home runs, only one of two Former Cubs all-time to achieve that historic milestone. Banks averaged .274 in his career of over 2500 games played, with a .330 on-base percentage, and an astonishing .500 slugging percentage. The only thing he couldn’t do was win a World Series, playing on some really bad teams in the fifties and sixties with not much support. Yet, you never saw Banks complain as he would go on to be a hero during those losing years.

After his 19-year career, all with the Cubs ended, Banks was a coach in 1972 before moving on to an instructor in the minor leagues while holding a role in the Cubs front office. He became the first former-Cub to have his number retired in August 1982. Banks in some role was with the Cubs until the day he died.

The legendary first baseman and shortstop passed away on January 23rd, 2015 in Chicago, almost two years shy of the greatest moment in Cubs history. Ernie “Mr. Cub” Banks didn’t live long enough to see the Cubs finally win the World Series but was there in spirit watching from above. He is certainly still cheering for the Cubs up above. 

Lead Photo via Baseball Hall of Fame

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