Banks did not hide his enthusiasm for the game, joyfully proclaiming, "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame -- let's play two!" The always-smiling Banks, now a youthful 75, twice won the National League Most Valuable Player award, in 1958 and '59.
He led the National League in home runs in 1958 and '60; led the league in RBIs in '58 and '59; and won a Gold Glove in '60.
On Sept. 2, 1965, Banks hit his 400th home run, and five years later, on May 12, 1970, at Wrigley Field, he hit his 500th. He finished the season with 512 homers, and held the record for most home runs by a shortstop until it was broken by Cal Ripken Jr.
Banks still holds several Cubs career records: for most grand slams (12), extra-base hits (1,009), total bases (4,706), and games (2,528).
An 11-time All-Star, Banks was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, his first year of eligibility.
The fan-participation Hometown Heroes promotion, presented by DHL, was designed to celebrate a player, either past or present, from each of the 30 Major League teams whose combination of on-field contributions, character and leadership make him stand out from the rest. Every team had five candidates, and Banks edged out Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg and Ron Santo. All but Santo are in the Hall of Fame.
From July 18-Sept. 17, nearly 17 million votes were cast by fans using a special ballot containing five Hometown Heroes for each team.
The final list includes 20 Hall of Famers, eight Cy Young award winners, and a total of 330 All-Star Game and 340 World Series game appearances.