Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ernie Banks Passes Away!

Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks has passed away.

This weekend marks the death of America's favorite baseball player. Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks has passed away. We here at Journal de la Reyna send our condolences to the family of Ernie Banks.

Banks was a Major League Baseball (MLB) shortstop and first baseman for 19 seasons, 1953 through 1971. He spent his entire MLB career with the Chicago Cubs. He was a National League (NL) All-Star for 11 seasons, playing in 14 All-Star Games.

Banks was born and raised in Dallas. He entered Negro league baseball in 1950, playing for the Kansas City Monarchs. He served in the US military for two years and returned to the Monarchs before beginning his major league career in September 1953. He made his first MLB All-Star Game appearance in 1955. Banks received back-to-back National League Most Valuable Player awards in 1958 and 1959. He hit .313 with 47 home runs (HR) and 129 runs batted in (RBI) in 1958. The next season he hit .304 with 45 HR and 143 RBI in 1959.

During the 1961 season, Banks was transferred to left field followed by a final position change to first base. Cubs manager Leo Durocher became frustrated with Banks in the mid-1960s, saying that the slugger's performance was faltering, but he felt that he was unable to remove Banks from the lineup due to the star's popularity among Cubs fans. Banks was a player-coach from 1967 through 1971. In 1970, he hit his 500th career home run. In 1972, he joined the Cubs coaching staff after his retirement as a player.

Banks was active in the Chicago community during and after his tenure with the Cubs. He founded a charitable organization, became the first black Ford Motor Company dealer in the United States, and made an unsuccessful bid for a local political office. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. In 1999, he was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In 2013, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to sports. Banks lived in the Los Angeles area.

Banks married his first wife Mollye Ector in 1953. He had proposed to her in a letter from Germany and they married when he returned to the US. He filed for divorce two years later. The couple briefly reconciled in early 1959. By that summer, they agreed on a divorce settlement that would pay $65,000 to Ector in lieu of alimony.

Shortly thereafter, Banks eloped with Eloyce Johnson. Within a year, the couple had twin sons. They had a daughter four years after that.

Banks ran for alderman in Chicago in 1962. He lost the election and later said, "People knew me only as a baseball player. They didn't think I qualified as a government official and no matter what I did I couldn't change my image... What I learned, was that it was going to be hard for me to disengage myself from my baseball life and I would have to compensate for it after my playing days were over."

Ector filed suit against Ernie in 1963 for failing to make payments on a life insurance policy as agreed upon in their divorce settlement.

Played for 19 seasons with the Chicago Cubs, Ernie Banks. He appears with Hank Aaron.
In 1966, Banks worked for Seaway National Bank in the offseason and enrolled in a banking correspondence course. He also bought into several business ventures during his playing career, including a gas station. Though he had been paid modestly in comparison to other baseball stars, Banks had taken the advice of Wrigley and invested much of his earnings. He later spent time working for an insurance company and for New World Van Lines. Banks began building assets that would be worth an estimated $4 million by the time he was 55 years old.

Banks and Bob Nelson became the first black owners of a U.S. Ford Motor Company dealership in 1967. Nelson had been the first non-white commissioned officer in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II; he operated an import car dealership before the venture with Banks.

Banks was appointed to the board of directors of the Chicago Transit Authority in 1969.

On a trip to Europe, Banks was able to visit the Pope, who presented him with a medal that became a proud possession.
President Barack Obama and Ernie Banks. The president and First Lady Michelle Obama both send their condolences to the family of Ernie Banks.
Banks was divorced from Eloyce in 1981. She received several valuable items from his playing career as part of their divorce settlement, including his 500th home run ball. She sold the items not long after the divorce. In 1984, he married a woman named Marjorie. In 1993, Marjorie was part of a group that met with MLB executives about race relations in baseball after allegations of racial slurs surfaced against Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott.

Banks married Liz Ellzey in 1997 and Hank Aaron served as his best man.

In late 2008, Banks and Ellzey adopted an infant daughter.

Banks's nephew, Bob Johnson, was a major league catcher and first baseman for the Texas Rangers between 1981 and 1983. His great nephew, Acie Law, is a professional basketball player who attended Texas A&M University before playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

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