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What are some biographical facts about Ernie Banks?

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Quick Answer

Ernie Banks was a Hall of Fame shortstop and first baseman who played for the Chicago Cubs for his entire career, from 1953 to 1971. He hit 512 home runs in his career and was a 13-time All-Star and two-time Most Valuable Player.

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Full Answer

Banks was born in Dallas, Texas, on Jan. 31, 1931, and was the second of 12 children in his family. After high school, he served in the U.S. Army for two years before joining the Negro Leagues' Kansas City Monarchs for the 1953 season. He signed with the Cubs late in 1953.

Banks had a strong season in 1954, and by 1955 was baseball's best shortstop. Banks hit 44 home runs in 1955, the most ever at that time for a shortstop. He broke his own record when he led the league with 47 home runs in 1958. He won MVP awards in 1958 and 1959 and again led the league in home runs in 1960. He moved to first base beginning in 1962 because of knee problems, a move that extended his career. He was one of baseball's best players in the 1950s and remained a productive starter throughout the 1960s.

After his playing career, Banks worked in insurance and transportation, owned a Ford dealership and served on the board of directors of the Chicago Transit Authority. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1977 and had his number retired in 1982. Banks died on Jan. 23, 2015, at the age of 83.

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