Ernie Banks a baseball legend who played 19 seasons in the major leagues with the Chicago Cubs died on Friday at the age of 83. Banks hit 512 home runs in his major league career and was inducted in 1977 into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Chicago Cubs announced the death of Banks late Friday, but did not release a cause.
Banks, dubbed Mr. Cub, played his 19 seasons between first base and shortstop. He played in every season for the Cubs between 1953 and 1971.
Banks was known to say, “It is a great day to play baseball, Let’s play two.” That catchphrase remains to this day at famed Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Tom Ricketts the chairman of the Cubs said words could not express how important Banks will always be to Chicago, the Cubs organization and to Major League Baseball.
Ricketts called Banks a pioneer in baseball and one of the most sincere and warmest individuals he had ever known.
Ricketts added that Banks was always kind hearted and optimistic and he and the entire Ricketts family grieve such a loss of a good-hearted great man.
Although Banks had 11 all-star game appearances, he never played in the postseason for Chicago. The team was under .500 for 13 of his 19 seasons with the Cubs.
However, he was voted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in just his first year eligible.
In 1999, Banks was selected to the All-Century baseball team.
In 1953, Banks was discovered by the Cubs while playing in the Negro Leagues with Kansas City.
His contract was purchased by the Cubs for $10,000 and he made his debut in the major leagues during the same season.
Banks caught the eye of the organization due to a quick stroke behind strong wrists making it look almost effortless each time he launched a home run.
He retired following the 1971 season and owned most of the career marks in slugging for Chicago at the time. His No. 14 was retired in 1982 and a statue of the great was erected in 2008 outside Wrigley Field.