Let's Play 2 - MLB Loses Ernie Banks

It's a sad day for baseball, as Ernie Banks has passed at 83. Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks came up in 1953 as a shortstop for the Cubs and was their first black player. He and second baseman Gene Baker also formed the first all black double play combination in baseball. Before joining the Cubs, Banks spent time in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs and subsequently skipped the Minor Leagues.

Banks had a Hall of Fame career spanning 18 years all with the Cubs. In 2500+ games, he blasted 512 homers, drove in 1636, with 407 doubles and more than 2500 total hits. He was elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 1977. Banks made 14 All-Star teams (double games in 59, 60, 62), snuck in a Gold Glove, and took home 2 MVP Awards. He will be the SS on our All-Time Team of players to win consecutive MVP Awards. 13 times he hit 20 or more homers, and 8 times he drove in more than 100.  He's a member of our All-Time Cubs team and the 1950 NL All-Decade team.

Banks split his career between SS and 1B which will pose a potential problem in our upcoming All-Time position rankings. Bad knees forced the move to first mid-way through Banks' career. Ernie Banks certainly began the process of changing the perception of a shortstop merely being a defensive player. This paved the way for power hitting shortstops like Cal Ripken, Alex Rodriguez, and Troy Tulowitzki to combine great glove work with a power bat.

Banks was famous for his positivity and for wanting to play every day.

1 comment:

  1. First game my father ever took me to, it was at Connie Mack stadium and against the Cubs. I think I was 9 or 10, But Ernie hit 2 home runs. Didn't know at the time who he was, but found out.


Copyright © 2012 FOR BASEBALL JUNKIES.