Chicago Cubs History: Regaling the top five MVPs in franchise history
Chicago Cubs: Ernie Banks, 1B/SS, 1958-59
Second on this list is a couple of very impressive seasons courtesy of “Mr. Cub” himself, Ernie Banks. Banks is a staple of the north side of Chicago. Always has been, always will be. Throughout his 18 year career (all with the Cubs), Banks had some fun seasons. Nothing, however, will compare to the summers of 1958 and 1959, respectively.
Banks was coming off a season in 1957 in which he hit .285 while mashing 43 home runs and was worth a 6.1 WAR. Up to that point, Banks had had only one stronger season than this, but that was all about to change. In 1958, Banks improved his offense across the board slashing .313/.366/.614 with 47 home runs and 129 driven in. Banks struck out only 12.8 percent of the time and hit 11 triples to boot.
If that wasn’t enough, Banks followed up that year with an even better year in 1959. Once again, Banks hit forty plus home runs (45) and increased his RBI total from 129 to 143. The walk rate rose by about two percent as the strikeout rate decreased by two percent. Banks was worth 9.7 WAR that year. In the two years, Banks carried a combined .975 OPS with a 155 OPS+. Not too shabby, and it is why he is number two on this list.