Known as Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks has been a fixture with the Chicago Cubs since signing with them back in 1953.
Banks spent his entire 19 year major league career with the Cubs finishing with a .274 average and 512 home runs while winning two MVP awards and earning entry into baseball’s Hall of Fame.
“Words cannot express how important Ernie Banks will always be to the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago and Major League Baseball. He was one of the greatest players of all time,” Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Cubs, said in a statement released by the team. “He was a pioneer in the major leagues. And more importantly, he was the warmest and most sincere person I’ve ever known.
“Approachable, ever optimistic and kind hearted, Ernie Banks is and always will be Mr. Cub. My family and I grieve the loss of such a great and good-hearted man, but we look forward to celebrating Ernie’s life in the days ahead.”
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) January 24, 2015
Banks was famous for his line “Let’s play two” and often professed his love for baseball.
“Ernie Banks was more than a baseball player. He was one of Chicago’s greatest ambassadors. He loved this city as much as he loved — and lived for — the game of baseball,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “This year, during every Cubs game, you can bet that No. 14 will be watching over his team. And if we’re lucky, it’ll be a beautiful day for not just one ballgame, but two.”