"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."
Known as Mr. Cub, Banks, who spent his entire 19-year career with the Cubs, was a trailblazing baseball star. In 1953, he became the Cubs' first black player. Five years later, he became the first player from a losing team to win the MVP award. One year after that, he became the first to win the award two years in a row. Banks hit 512 home runs in his career before retiring in 1971. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977, the first year he was eligible.