Remembering Ernie Banks, Baseball Player and Diversity Champion

Ernie Banks recieved the Presidential Medal of Honor in 2013. (White House photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Ernie Banks died last Friday at 83.

Known globally as “Mr. Cub,” Banks became the Chicago Cubs’ first African-American player on Sept. 17, 1953. In his 19-year playing career and 40-plus years as an ambassador for baseball and the city of Chicago, Banks was a two-time National League Most Valuable Player, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977. In 2013, in recognition of his goodwill, he was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

At a news conference last Sunday, family attorney Mark Bogen read a short statement and praised Banks for his contributions inside and outside of baseball, including support for the military, gay rights, kids with disabilities and numerous charities.