“Mr. Cub,” Chicago Baseball Legend Ernie Banks, Dies At 83

Banks was a legendary home run hitter and the first black baseball player on the Chicago Cubs.

Chicago Cubs infielder Ernie Banks is pictured in 1967. (AP Photo/Harold Filan) AP

Ernie Banks, a legendary home run hitter and the first black baseball player on the Chicago Cubs, died Friday.

Banks joined the Cubs in 1953 and went on to earn the nickname “Mr. Cub.” His career was marked by an array of successes over 19 seasons: he hit 512 home runs and 1,636 RBIs; he was an 11-time all star; and in 1977, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Banks still holds Cubs records for the number games played and at-bats, among other things, ESPN reported. He also still holds the record for the second most home runs in Cubs history.

Ernie Banks connects with the ball for his 2,500th base hit of his major league career on Sept. 19, 1969, in Chicago. AP

As the first black player on the Cubs, Banks was also a pioneer at a time when Baseball was still a predominately white sport.

Prior to joining the MLB, he played in the Negro leagues, joining the Kansas City Monarchs in 1950. He later spent two years in the army before joining the Cubs.

Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame slugger Ernie Banks in March 2014. M. Spencer Green / AP

Banks grew to become a beloved figure in Chicago and elsewhere.

Among other things, he was known for his “sunny disposition,” the Chicago Tribune reported Friday. In 2013, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

Banks’ death was confirmed by his wife and the Cubs.

Willie Mays, right, of the New York Giants sprints to third base as Banks catches a ball in Chicago on May 22, 1957. Harry Hall / AP

Chicago’s Wrigley Field displayed a tribute to Banks Friday on its marquee:

The Wrigley Field marquee pays tribute to Mr. Cub on this somber night.

— MLB (@MLB)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel posted a tribute to Banks on Facebook calling him “one of Chicago’s greatest ambassadors.”

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. 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. My deepest sympathy to his wife, Liz, family, and friends.

Fans took to social media Friday to mourn Banks’ death, many of them using his catchphrase, “Let’s Play Two.”

So long, Ernie. I never met you, but the excitement and positivity you brought to the game was unparalleled. #ErnieBanks #LetsPlayTwo

— JimIngram01 (@Jim Ingram)

Grew up in the days of WGN & TBS hearing of legends Henry Aaron and Mr. Cub Ernie Banks, sad to hear of his passing. RIP #MrCub

— hates_sleeves (@Jesse)

Truly saddened to hear about the death of #ErnieBanks, but happy he’s playing ball upstairs with Ronnie 💞 #GoCubsGo

— BF_StarNews (@Brittany Feagans)

Welcome to the Field of Dreams, Mr. Cub. #LetsPlay2

— LukeMock (@Luke Mock âš¾)

Cap off to a legend… Ernie Banks. #letsplaytwo

— nickjoness (@Nick Jones)

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimdalrympleii/mr-cub-chicago-baseball-legend-ernie-banks-dies-at-83