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"Ernie Banks ... was unimpressive in the field ..."

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Hall of Fame shortstop/first baseman Ernie Banks made his Chicago Cubs debut on this date in 1953 at Wrigley Field. It was a historic appearance: the future "Mr. Cub" was the team's first African-American player to play for the Cubs, who were the eighth team in Major League Baseball to integrate with black players. By comparison, the crosstown White Sox were sixth, introducing Minnie Minoso and Sam Hairston in 1951. Banks was one of three rookies to make their debut on May 17, 1953. Pitcher Don Elston and outfielder Bob Talbot joined Ernie that day. A Chicago Tribune photographer captured the three before the game in the Wrigley Field locker room:


Elston, who would have a decent 11-year career, mostly on the North Side, got hammered in his debut, as the Cubs lost to the Phils 16-4:


The historic nature of Ernie's debut was totally lost on Ed Prell, the veteran Tribune sportswriter covering the event. Instead, he was dismissive of the 22-year-old shortstop who would e…