Congratulations to 500 Home Run Club member Ernie Banks, who will be honored with a prestigious Beacon of Life Award on May 14, the weekend of the Civil Rights Game between the Phillies and Braves in Atlanta.
The former Chicago Cubs shortstop/first baseman will receive the honor along with actor Morgan Freeman and musician Carlos Santana. The award recognizes "an individual who embodies the soul of the civil rights movement through his life's pursuits," according to Major League Baseball.
Banks, 80, and his wife, Liz, operate the "Ernie Banks Live Above and Beyond Foundation," which promotes social welfare and looks to improve the lives of underprivileged children and senior citizens by enhancing neighborhoods and relieving discrimination among age groups and races.
Buck O'Neil, Spike Lee, Frank Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, Bill Cosby and Willie Mays have been presented with Beacon Awards in previous years.
In addition, on June 8, Wendy Lewis, former Chicago Cubs manager of human resources, will be honored at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel as one of three recipients of the 2011 WISE Woman of the Year Award during the 17th annual luncheon.
Lewis, who is now senior vice president of diversity and strategic alliances for Major League Baseball, is credited with starting the two-day Selig Business Conference -- a massive trade fair that will take place at the Georgia Aquarium May 12-13 as part of the Civil Rights Game events.
Joining Lewis as 2011 WISE Woman of the Year honorees will be Stacey Allaster (chairman and CEO of the Women's Tennis Association) and Lisa Baird (chief marketing officer of the United States Olympic Committee).