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Ernie Banks awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Nov 20, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT

Ernie Banks was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama today. It’s the nation’s highest civilian honor. According to the White House, the award is given to individuals “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

The moment of honor:


If I was the president I woulda given him two. As it was, Obama noted that, even though he was a White Sox fan, he always believed Banks when he claimed that, someday, the Cubs will win it all. Obama said  “That’s serious belief.” And it probably tells you all you need to know about the positive thinking and inspirational nature of Ernie Banks.

Banks joins Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Buck O’Neil, Frank Robinson, Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams as Medal of Freedom recipients from the game of baseball.

  1. bobwheel - Nov 20, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    If he likes his medal, he can keep his medal…

    • aceshigh11 - Nov 20, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      I knew some ass-hat would hijack the first comment and inject politics.

    • raysfan1 - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      This story is not about Barack Obama. It is about Ernie Banks. No matter how much the president may deserve someone’s dislike, injecting your feelings toward him into this story does a disservice to Ernie Banks. I think both conservatives and liberals should be able to set aside their differences and simply applaud this honor to Ernie Banks. It is well deserved for a man who has been a wonderful ambassador for the game of baseball for over a half century.

      • skids003 - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:43 PM

        Great player, classy man, and true gentlemen. Probably the most deserving of all the recipients who got one today.

  2. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 20, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Congratulations Mr. Banks!

    • chew1985 - Nov 20, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      Let’s give him two medals.

  3. philliesblow - Nov 20, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    I would have guessed that Bob Feller would have received this. Congrats to Ernie.

  4. shawndc04 - Nov 20, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    >>he always believed Banks when he claimed that, someday, the Cubs will win it all. <<

    I'm not a Cubs fan but it would be nice if they won it in Ern's lifetime.

    Pete Rose on Ern:

    "In the Spring Ol Ern would say 'We gonna win it all this year.'"

    "In the Summer, after the Cubs had begun their fade, Ol Ern would say, 'We gonna be in it at the end.'"

    "In September, when they were hopelessly out of it, Ol Ern would say, "we gonna spoil it for someone else.'"

    Loved Ernie, played the game the right way.

  5. sawxalicious - Nov 20, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Ernie is the best example of an ambassador for baseball. Congrats to him, well-deserved.

  6. cohnjusack - Nov 20, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    A fun selective stat activity can be had with Ernie Banks.

    From 1955-1960, Banks put up an insane peak. He was a big time slugging, good fielding shortstop at a time when shortstops were absolutely not sluggers.

    In that time span, here are the leaders in home runs at each position, and how much they lead 2nd place by

    C: Yogi Berra- 137 (18 more than 2nd place)
    1B: Roy Sievers- 184 (19 more)
    2B: Daryl Spencer – 70 (5 more)
    SS: Ernie Banks- 248 (183 more)
    3B: Eddie Mathews – 226 (80 more)
    OF: Mickey Mantle – 236 (12 more)

  7. deathmonkey41 - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    WTF?!?!?!? I got passed up again?!?!?!?!?

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      Yeah, me too. I think it’s really unfair that one of the requirements is you have to actually have accomplished something, you know, like useful.

  8. dhar77 - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Craig you used the wrong “two”. It should be “too.”

    • dhar77 - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      I didn’t read it right my bad

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      No dhar, I was thinking the same thing Craig was, that Mr Banks deserved two awards, one for each game of the doubleheader he always said he wanted to play. As in, “it’s a great day for a ballgame, let’s play two.”

  9. yourcubreporter - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    Absolutely wonderful honor for Mr. Cub. One day, Ernie Banks. One day…

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      I agree. And if outlives Jeanne Calment by a decade or two, he might just get his wish. Here’s hoping.

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