Ernie Banks

American baseball player and coach

Ernest Banks (born January 30, 1931January 23, 2015), nicknamed "Mr. Cub" and "Mr. Sunshine", was an American professional baseball player who starred in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a shortstop and first baseman for the Chicago Cubs between 1953 and 1971. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, and was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.

Ernie Banks in 2009

Banks is regarded as being one of the greatest players of all time. He began playing professional baseball in 1950 with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro leagues. He served in the U.S. military for two years, played for the Monarchs again, and began his National League career in September 1953. The following year, Banks was the National League Rookie of the Year runner-up. Beginning in 1955, Banks was a National League (NL) All-Star for 11 seasons, playing in 13 of the 15 All-Star Games held during those years. Banks was the Cubs' main attraction in the late 1950s, the National League Most Valuable Player in 1958 and 1959, and the Cubs' first Gold Glove winner in 1960.


  • The riches of the game are in the thrills, not the money.
  • I like my players to be married and in debt. That's the way you motivate them.
  • Did you hear that? I didn't hear anything. Put that question another way.
  • Sandy Koufax. Sandy was a special problem for me because he possessed exceptional control, speed and a great curve ball. He was highly disciplined, extremely committed and a very private person. These qualities enabled him to concentrate on his profession without a lot of unnecessary distractions.
    • Responding to the question, "Who was the toughest pitcher you faced during your career, and why was he a special problem for you?"; as quoted in "Hall of Famers Name Their Toughest Diamond Foes" by William Guilfoile, in The 1991 National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Yearbook; reprinted in Baseball Digest (August 1992), p. 28

Quotes about Ernie Banks

  • There's another case — Ernie Banks. What could he do other than hit home runs? He didn't hit .300 lifetime. He couldn't play shortstop. He didn't have an arm. He couldn't run.
    • ElRoy Face, questioning Banks' HOF qualifications, immediately after having done so regarding ex-Pirate slugger Ralph Kiner; as quoted in Maz and the '60 Bucs (1993) by Jim O'Brien, p. 306
  • His wrists are the secret of (Ernie) Banks' success. Instead of taking the big Ruthian type swing of the lively ball era, he swings his bat as if it were a buggy whip, striking at the ball with the reflexive swiftness of a serpent's tongue.
    • Bill Furlong in Baseball Stars of 1959.
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