Ernie Banks Breaks the Color Barrier With the Chicago Cubs (September 17, 1953)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS:
- 14x MLB All-Star (1955-1958), 1959 (2x), 1960 (2x), 1961, 1962 (2x), 1965, 1967, 1969
- 2x MLB National League “MVP” (1958, 1959)
- 2x MLB National League RBI Leader (1958, 1959)
- 2x MLB National League Home-Run Leader (1958, 1960)
- MLB Gold Glove Award (1960)
- National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction (1977)
- MLB All-Century Team (1999)
- Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2013
Major League Baseball scouts spotted Texas-native Ernie Banks playing with the Kansas City Monarch in 1950. The team sold Banks’ contract to the Chicago Cubs for $10,000 after he returned from serving in the U.S. Army during World War II.
When Banks made his Major League Baseball debut, he, like Dan Bankhead, Willard Brown, Larry Doby, “Satchel” Paige and Hank Thompson, went straight to the majors from the Negro Leagues without playing minor-league ball.
From the start, Banks, nicknamed “Mr. Cub,” excelled. After batting .275 with 19 home runs in 1954, he set a shortstop record by hitting 44 home runs the next year. Jackie Robinson was Banks’ inspiration. “Jackie Robinson impacted my life tremendously,” he said.
He concluded his 19-season, major-league career as a 14-time All-Star, a two-time National League “MVP,” a two-time home-run and RBI leader, and a Gold Glove Award winner. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977 and named to the MLB’s All-Century Team in 1999. President Barack Obama presented Banks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.