|Mr. Ernie Banks, (a.k.a.Mr. Cub) during the 2013 Medal of Freedom award ceremony. Photo/CD Brown.|
"This is a great world", he said. "It really is. I'm just happy to be here, in Washington."
Mr. Banks died of an apparent heart attack, leaving behind a wife, his storied Chicago Cubs baseball legacy, and the thoughts of kindness and humility to those meeting him for the very first time; reminding us all to "just be nice to people."
President Obama shared his thoughts on the passing of "Mr. Cub", as he was affectionately known.
"Michelle and I send our condolences to the family of Ernie Banks, and to every Chicagoan and baseball fan who loved him. Ernie came up through the Negro Leagues, making $7 a day. He became the first African-American to play for the Chicago Cubs, and the first number the team retired. Along the way, he became known as much for his 512 home runs and back-to-back National League MVPs as for his cheer, his optimism, and his love of the game. As a Hall-of-Famer, Ernie was an incredible ambassador for baseball, and for the city of Chicago. He was beloved by baseball fans everywhere, including Michelle, who, when she was a girl, used to sit with her dad and watch him play on TV. And in 2013, it was my honor to present Ernie with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Somewhere, the sun is shining, the air is fresh, his team's behind him, and Mr. Class – "Mr. Cub" –is ready to play two."
His family has set up a Facebook page in his honor.