The Chicago Cubs announced Friday that Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, who spent 19 seasons with the team between 1953 and 1971, died from a heart attack on Friday at the age of 83.
Banks, who was famously nicknamed “Mr. Cub” hit 512 home runs during his career as a shortstop and first baseman, though he never played in the playoffs.
“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,” Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement.
“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.”
Banks was one of the most beloved players of his generation, and was famous for his saying, “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame. Let’s play two.”