Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks has been named a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to citizens in the United States.
"I am humbled and honored to receive this great award and to be among such distinguished honorees," said Banks. "I have spent my life trying to help others enjoy and appreciate the sport I love. I thank President Obama for all his efforts. The Chicago Cubs and Cubs fans everywhere share in this award, as their support makes me proud to continue to work on behalf of America's greatest game."
Dubbed "Mr. Cub," Banks suited up on Chicago's North Side from 1953-71, slugging 512 home runs over 19 seasons. The 82-year-old was elected to Cooperstown in 1977.
"This honor is well deserved for a man who has done so much for the game of baseball, said Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Cubs. "His contributions on and off the field have made a monumental impact to society. He is a great American ambassador who continues to spend his time and effort helping others love and appreciate America���s pastime."
Other former major leaguers to be so honored by the President include Stan Musial (2011), Buck O'Neil (2006), Frank Robinson (2005), Roberto Clemente (2003), Hank Aaron (2002), Ted Williams (1991), Jackie Robinson (1984) and Joe DiMaggio (1977).