Banks, Ernie


Banks never played minor league ball, jumping directly from the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues to the Chicago Cubs.

He hit .314 in 10 games in 1953. He took over as the Cubs' starting shortstop the following year, and had his first great season in 1955, knocking in 117 runs and hitting 44 homers, a record for shortstops; five of them came with the bases loaded, at the time a major-league record.

By 1957 he was one of the most feared power hitters in the league. The late umpire Tom Gorman once recalled that, "in 1957 Banks was knocked down four times by four different pitchers-Don Drysdale, Bob Purkey, Bob Friend, and Jack Sanford. And each time he was knocked down, Banks hit their next pitch out of the park."

Ernie went on to hit 512 home runs and win two MVP awards in a Hall of Fame career.