Baseball Wiki
Ernie Banks
Banks ernie lg2.jpg

Number retired on 22 August 1982

Positions First Base
SS (1125-gms)
3B (69-games)
OF (23-games)
MLB Seasons 19
Teams Chicago Cubs
Debut 17 Sept. 1953 (CHC)
Final Game 26 Sept. 1971 (CHC)
Total Games 2,528 batting
(2,476 fielding)
LCS Appearances (none)
World Series Teams (none)
Allstar Teams 1955, 1956,
1957, 1958,
1959, 1960,
1961, 1962,
1965, 1967,
Awards NL MVP
(1958, 1959)
League Leader RBIs (1958-129; 1959-143)
League Leader Home Runs (1958-47; 1960-41)
Gold Glove (1960)
Lou Gehrig Memorial Award (1967)
National Baseball Hall of Fame (1977)
"Mr. Cub"
"Mr. Sunshine"

Ernest "Ernie" Banks (January 31, 1931January 23, 2015), was an American Major League baseball player who played his entire career with the Chicago Cubs (1953-1971). Banks is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. His nickname was Mr. Cub and Mr. Sunshine.

Playing career

Baseball Hall of Fame
Ernie Banks
is a member of
the Baseball
Hall of Fame

Banks signed with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League in 1950 and broke into the major leagues in 1953 with the Chicago Cubs as their first black player. He played for the Cubs his entire career, starting at shortstop and moving to first base in 1962. Banks wore number 14 as a Cub, and is one of only four Cubs players who have had their number retired by the organization. He is well known for his catch phrase of, "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame... Let's play two!", expressing his wish to play a double-header every day out of his pure love for the game of baseball, especially in his self-described "friendly confines of Wrigley Field." In 1955, he set the record for grand slams in a single season, at an amazing 5. (This record stood for over twenty years.)

Banks won the National League Most Valuable Player Award twice, in 1958 and 1959. This feat is amazing, since the Cubs were never pennant contenders during Banks' career and this award is usually given to players who contribute substantially to their teams' championship drives. A contemporary sportswriter remarked that, "Without Ernie Banks, the Cubs would have finished the season in Albuquerque!"

On September 2, 1965, Banks hit his 400th home run, and five years later, on May 12, 1970 at Chicago's Wrigley Field, hit his 500th home run. Banks finished his career with 512 home runs, the most ever by a shortstop. Ernie Banks also currently holds the record for most extra base hits by a Cub with 1,009.

Coaching career

On December 1, 1971, Banks retired as a player, and the Cubs signed him as a coach.

On May 8, 1973, Cubs manager Whitey Lockman was ejected from the game. Coach Ernie Banks filled in as manager for the two innings of the 12-inning 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres. Thus, he was technically, if not officially, MLB's first black manager, predating Frank Robinson's hiring by almost two years.


Banks died of a heart attack at a Chicago hospital on January 23, 2015, eight days before his 84th birthday.


Despite never having appeared in a postseason game, Banks is regarded as the most popular baseball player in Chicago history, leading to his nickname of "Mr. Cub." On August 22, 1982, his uniform number 14 became the first to be retired by the Cubs. It had already been de facto retired for nearly 9 years, not having been assigned to anyone else following Banks' retirement from the coaching ranks.

In 1977, in his first year of eligibility, Banks was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 1999, he ranked Number 38 on The Sporting News list of Baseball's Greatest Players, and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.


During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ernie Banks operated car dealership Ernie Banks Ford on Stoney Island Avenue in Chicago.

Ernie Banks has been rumored to be part of a group looking into buying the Chicago Cubs, in case the Tribune Company decides to sell the club, as is also rumored.


  • Height: 6'- 1"
  • Weight: 180 lb (82 kg)
  • Bats: Right
  • Throws: Right
  • Uniform number: 14
  • MLB
    • Batting average: .274
    • Hits: 2,583
    • RBIs: 1,636
    • Home runs: 512
  • Cubs' all-time leader:
    • Games played (2,528)
    • At-bats (9,421)
    • Total bases (4,706)
  • Major League Single Season Records
    • 5 grand slam home runs in 1955

Years led league by statistical category

See also

External links

Preceded by:
Hank Aaron
National League Home Run Champion
Succeeded by:
Eddie Mathews
Preceded by:
Hank Aaron
National League RBI Champion
Succeeded by:
Hank Aaron
Preceded by:
Hank Aaron
National League Most Valuable Player
1958, 1959
Succeeded by:
Dick Groat
Preceded by:
Eddie Mathews
National League Home Run Champion
Succeeded by:
Orlando Cepeda
Preceded by:
Brooks Robinson
Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
Succeeded by:
Al Kaline
Major League Baseball | MLB All-Century Team

Nolan Ryan | Sandy Koufax | Cy Young | Roger Clemens | Bob Gibson | Walter Johnson | Warren Spahn | Christy Mathewson | Lefty Grove
Johnny Bench | Yogi Berra | Lou Gehrig | Mark McGwire | Jackie Robinson | Rogers Hornsby | Mike Schmidt | Brooks Robinson | Cal Ripken, Jr. | Ernie Banks | Honus Wagner
Babe Ruth | Hank Aaron | Ted Williams | Willie Mays | Joe DiMaggio | Mickey Mantle | Ty Cobb | Ken Griffey, Jr. | Pete Rose | Stan Musial