Ernie Banks’ legacy is about much more than stats and on-field accomplishments. Mr. Cub, who died Friday night at the age of 83, was a Chicago icon, a pioneer who helped break down racial barriers, and a baseball ambassador who President Obama honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.
But make no mistake: Even judging strictly by the numbers, Banks is one of the greatest in history.
Here’s a look at some of his most eye-grabbing stats and career accomplishments:
Career Home Runs: 512
Though Banks’ power dwindled in his final years, he was a prolific slugger in his prime, hitting more than 40 homers in four of out five seasons between 1955 and 1960 and leading the National League in round-trippers twice.
In 1958, he slugged a career-high 47 while hitting .313, driving in 129 runs and winning the first of back-to-back MVPs. He hit more than 20 homers 13 times and more than 30 seven times. He’s tied with Eddie Matthews for 22nd on the all-time home runs list, just 8 behind Albert Pujols and 9 behind Ted Williams, Willie McCovey and Frank Thomas.
Mr. Cub hit his 500th homer on May 12, 1970 at Wrigley Field against the Braves. Watch the video of the shot, along with his 498th and 499th homers, in the highlight reel above.
MVP Awards: 2
Banks, profiled by the Chicago Tribune in the video shown above, won back-to-back MVPs in 1958 and 1959, when he hit a total of 92 homers and drove in 272 runs. He had an OPS of .980 in 1958 and .970 in ’59, the best two marks of his career. Banks also finished third in MVP voting in 1955 (his second full season) and fourth in 1960.
All-Star Games: 14
Banks played in 14 All-Star Games, making appearances in eight straight years from 1955 to 1962. His final appearance came in his 17th Major League season in 1969, when he hit 23 homers and drove in 106 runs despite hitting a modest .253 with a .725 OPS.
The 1965 game in Minnesota, a 6-5 National League win, featured an NL lineup that included Banks, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Willie Stargell, Pete Rose and Joe Torre, with Roberto Clemente and Frank Robinson coming off the bench and Sandy Koufax getting the win in relief of Juan Marichal. You can watch the whole game in the video above.
Banks, who started at first base and batted sixth, went 2-for-4.
Total Bases: 4,706
Banks’ 4,706 total bases rank 34th all-time , 11 spots ahead of Mickey Mantle, who he competed against in an episode of Home Run Derby that you can watch above.
Banks led the league in total bases with 379 in 1958 and finished with more than 300 on five other occasions. In addition to his 512 home runs, he also finished with 407 doubles and 90 triples.