Ernest "Ernie" Banks (January 31, 1931 – January 23, 2015), nicknamed "Mr. Cub" and "Mr. Sunshine", was an American professional baseball player. He was a Major League Baseball (MLB) shortstop and first baseman for 19 seasons, 1953 through 1971. He spent his entire MLB career with the Chicago Cubs. He was a National League (NL) All-Star for 11 seasons, playing in 14 All-Star Games. Banks is regarded by some as one of the greatest players of all time.
Banks, born and raised in Dallas, entered Negro league baseball in 1950, playing for the Kansas City Monarchs. He served in the US military for two years and returned to the Monarchs before beginning his major league career in September 1953. Banks made his first MLB All-Star Game appearance in 1955. He received two consecutive National League Most Valuable Player awards in 1958 and 1959, and received his first and only Gold Glove award for shortstop in 1960.
He was transferred to the left field position during the 1961 season followed by a final change to first base that year. Cubs manager Leo Durocher became frustrated with Banks in the mid-1960s, saying that the slugger's performance was faltering, but he felt that he was unable to remove Banks from the lineup due to the star's popularity among Cubs fans. Banks was a player-coach from 1967 through 1971. In 1970, Banks hit his 500th career home run. In 1972, he joined the Cubs coaching staff after his retirement as a player.
Banks was active in the Chicago community during and after his tenure with the Cubs. He founded a charitable organization, became the first black Ford Motor Company dealer in the United States, and made an unsuccessful bid for a local political office. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. In 1999, he was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In 2013, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to sports. Banks lived in the Los Angeles area.
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