Ernest "Ernie" Banks was born January 31, 1931, but died of a heart attack just eight days ago.
Banks played first base and shortstop for 19 seasons, from 1953 through 1971. He spent his entire MLB career with the Chicago Cubs. He played in 14 All-Star Games and is one of the greatest players of all time. Banks' 512 home runs rank 22nd all time. He received two consecutive NL Most Valuable Player awards in 1958 and 1959, and received his first and only Gold Glove award for shortstop in 1960.
He was one of a handful of black players to come from the Negro League without playing in the minors and helped transcend the baseball color barrier.
Banks was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, his first year of eligibility. The Cubs retired Banks's uniform number 14 in 1982.
He quite simply was known as "Mr. Cub".
Happy Birthday, Ernie Banks.
Lynn Nolan Ryan, Jr. was born January 31, 1947.
Ryan is one of the best fastball pitchers ever to play the game. He regularly threw 100 mph plus. His 5714 strikeouts rank first all time, 839 better than the next best, Randy Johnson.
During a major league record 27-year baseball career (1966, 1968–1993), he pitched for four different teams: the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999. In that time, Ryan won one World Series in 1969 with the Mets.
Ryan is the all-time leader in no-hitters with seven, three more than any other pitcher. He is tied with Bob Feller for the most one-hitters, with 12. Ryan also pitched 18 two-hitters.
Happy Birthday, Nolan Ryan.