72 Facts About Ernie Banks

1. Ernie Banks was signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1953.

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2. In 1961, Ernie Banks had problems with his knee from an injury he had sustained while in the military.

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3. Ernie Banks was the first player to be retired out of the team by Cubs with his uniform number 14.

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4. Ernie Banks faced fierce completion, from the Veteran committee and the Negro Leagues.

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5. Ernie Banks got enrolled with the Chicago Cubs in 1953 and made his first major league debut in September playing 10 games for Wrigley field.

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6. Ernie Banks studied in Bookers T Washington High School and graduated in 1950.

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7. In 2013 Ernie Banks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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8. Ernie Banks excelled in football, basketball, track and field, and baseball at his Dallas high school.

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9. Ernie Banks starred for the Chicago Cubs from 1953 to 1971.

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10. Ernie Banks accounts for two of those, in 1958 and '59 (10.2, sixth all-time).

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11. Ernie Banks divides his time between homes in Chicago and Los Angeles, making regular visits as well to Dallas to visit family.

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12. Ernie Banks summed up his philosophy for Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times: "My theme is, 'The spirit of friendship is the balance of life.

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13. Ernie Banks had impressive numbers, but unfortunately for most of his career he was the Cubs only impressive player.

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14. Ernie Banks made the team as the Cubs' starting shortstop in 1954 and stayed with the team until he retired in 1971.

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15. Ernie Banks played 10 games with the Cubs at the end of the 1953 season, hitting.

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16. Ernie Banks was the shining star of a team that was mediocre for most of his career, and his one great regret was that he never played in the World Series.

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17. Ernie Banks was buried in Graceland Cemetery, just a few blocks north of Wrigley Field.

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18. Ernie Banks was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln by the Governor of Illinois in 1970, in the area of Sports.

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19. In 2009, Ernie Banks was named a Library of Congress Living Legend, a designation that recognizes those "who have made significant contributions to America's diverse cultural, scientific and social heritage".

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20. On March 31, 2008, a statue of Ernie Banks was unveiled in front of Wrigley Field.

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21. Ernie Banks was an ordained minister; he presided at the wedding of MLB pitcher Sean Marshall.

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22. In 2008, Ernie Banks released a charity wine called Ernie Banks 512 Chardonnay, the proceeds of which were donated to his foundation.

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23. In June 2006, Crain's Chicago Business said Ernie Banks was part of a group looking into buying the Chicago Cubs in case the Tribune Company decided to sell the club.

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24. Ernie Banks served as a team ambassador after his retirement, though author Phil Rogers says the team had never placed Banks in a position of authority or significant influence.

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25. At the time of the ceremony, Ernie Banks was employed as the Cubs' corporate sales representative.

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26. Ernie Banks was the first player to have his number retired by the team.

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27. Ernie Banks received votes on 321 of the 383 ballots.

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28. Ernie Banks was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, his first year of eligibility.

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29. Ernie Banks married Liz Ellzey in 1997 and Hank Aaron served as his best man.

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30. Ernie Banks was appointed to the board of directors of the Chicago Transit Authority in 1969.

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31. Ernie Banks bought into several business ventures, including a gas station, during his playing career.

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32. In 1966, Ernie Banks worked for Seaway National Bank in the off-season and enrolled in a banking correspondence course.

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33. Ernie Banks proposed to her in a letter from Germany.

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34. Ernie Banks led the NL in putouts five times and was the NL leader in fielding percentage as shortstop three times, and once as first baseman.

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35. Ernie Banks excelled as an infielder; he won a National League Gold Glove Award for shortstop in 1960.

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36. Ernie Banks was an instructor in the minor leagues for the next three seasons and worked in the Cubs' front office.

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37. On December 1, 1971, Ernie Banks retired as a player but continued to coach for the Cubs until 1973.

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38. Ernie Banks hit his 500th home run on May 12, 1970, at Chicago's Wrigley Field.

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39. Ernie Banks made his 11th and final All-Star season appearance as a pinch hitter; it was his 14th All-Star Game appearance overall.

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40. Ernie Banks won the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1968, an honor recognizing playing ability and personal character.

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41. Ernie Banks had received a pay increase from $33,000 to $50,000 between his MVP seasons in 1958 and 1959, but Ebony said several MLB players were making $100,000 at the time.

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42. Ernie Banks competed with John Boccabella for a starting position at first base.

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43. Ernie Banks had an unfailing instinct for doing the wrong thing.

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44. In May 1963, Ernie Banks set a single-game record of 22 putouts by a first baseman.

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45. In May 1962, Ernie Banks was hit in the head by a fastball from former Cubs pitcher Moe Drabowsky and was taken off the field unconscious.

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46. Ernie Banks was a pinch hitter in the second All-Star game.

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47. Ernie Banks was not selected to be an All-Star for the first of two All-Star games that season since 1959, when MLB started having two All-Star Games per season through 1962, but was selected as a reserve player.

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48. Ernie Banks credited center fielder Richie Ashburn with helping him learn to play left field; in 23 games Banks committed only one error.

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49. In 1961, Ernie Banks experienced problems with a knee injury he had acquired while in the army.

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50. Ernie Banks was the first Cubs player to receive an annual NL Gold Glove award.

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51. In 1960, Ernie Banks hit a major league and NL-leading 41 HR, had 117 RBI, and led the NL in games played for the sixth time in seven years.

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52. Ernie Banks made the All-Star selection as a reserve player but did not play in the game.

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53. In 1956, Ernie Banks missed 18 games due to a hand infection, breaking his run of 424 consecutive games played.

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54. Ernie Banks finished third in 1955 in the league's Most Valuable Player voting, behind Roy Campanella and Duke Snider.

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55. Ernie Banks set a thirty-year record of five single-season grand slam home runs.

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56. Ernie Banks played and was the starting NL shortstop in his first of 13 All-Star Games that season.

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57. In 1955, Ernie Banks hit 44 home runs, had 117 RBI and batted.

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58. Ernie Banks said, "I kept my mouth shut but tried to make a difference.

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59. Ernie Banks was the Cubs' first black player; he became one of several former Negro league players who joined MLB teams without playing in the minor leagues.

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60. Ernie Banks signed with the Chicago Cubs in late 1953, making his major league debut on September 17 at age 22 and playing in 10 games at Wrigley Field.

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61. Ernie Banks served as a flag bearer in the 45th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion at Fort Bliss, where he played with the Harlem Globetrotters on a part-time basis.

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62. In 1951, Ernie Banks was drafted into the US Army and served in Germany during the Korean War.

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63. Ernie Banks was a member of the Amarillo Colts, a semi-professional baseball team.

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64. Ernie Banks was born in Dallas, Texas, to Eddie and Essie Banks on January 31, 1931; he was the second of twelve children.

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65. In 2013, Ernie Banks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to sports.

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66. Ernie Banks 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.

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67. Ernie Banks was active in the Chicago community during and after his tenure with the Cubs.

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68. In 1970, Ernie Banks hit his 500th career home run at Wrigley Field.

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69. In 1962, Ernie Banks became a regular first baseman for the Cubs.

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70. Ernie Banks served in the US military for two years, played for the Monarchs again, and began his major league career in September 1953.

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71. Ernie Banks began playing professional baseball in 1950 with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro leagues.

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72. Ernie Banks was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, and was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.

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