Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs, known to many as “Mr. Cub”, died Friday January 23 at the age of 83. At a press news conference on Sunday, the Banks’ family attorney revealed Banks died as a result of a heart attack.
Banks was a shortstop and first baseman for the Chicago Cubs for his entire 19-season career that lasted from 1953 to 1971. Banks managed to hit more than 500 homeruns during this time.
Not only does Banks have a one-team career with the Chicago Cubs, he was also the first African American to play for the Cubs. During an era where racism was rampant, he was often unable to stay in the same hotels or eat in the same restaurants as his teammates.
In 1977, Banks was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and is considered one of the greatest players of all times. In 2008 he was honored with a statue at Wrigley Field. In 2013, Banks received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama. Banks, at the time, referred to that moment as his greatest accomplishment.
Not only was Banks an outstanding playing on the field, he was also respected off the field. One fan remembers how he was take the time to talk to anybody and sign autographs.