Legendary Chicago White Sox player Minnie Minoso finally gets his rightful plaque in Cooperstown New York as he is inducted into the Professional Baseball Hall of Fame by baseball’s Golden Age Committee.
The Chicago Cubs had Mr. Cub Ernie Banks, The Chicago White Sox had Minnie Minoso as Mr. White Sox. Orestes “Minnie” Minoso played in five different decades of professional baseball becoming the first Afro-Latino player to play in the MLB. He played in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 1980s. Minoso was born in Cuba and got his start in the Negro Leagues in 1947 before debuting in the majors with the Cleveland Indians organization in 1949.
Minoso made his debut with the White Sox in 1951 after a three-way trade sent him to the South Side. He was the first Black player for the White Sox and was an instant star maintaining a batting average over .350 throughout most of his first season. Minoso played third base and left field and batted .324 in his first season with the White Sox finishing second in the American League batting average that year.
Minoso played in the All-Star game 13 times and collected three Gold Gloves over his career. In 1980 at 56 years old he played in two games and collected two at bats for the White Sox. Yes, you read that correctly, 56-year-old Minnie Minoso played in the major leagues in 1980. He finished his career with a .299 batting average in 1,948 games, collecting 2,133 career hits 1,089 career RBIs and 201 stolen bases. Minoso is one of only three players in the history of the major leagues to collect a hit after the age of 50.
Minoso’s legacy goes beyond baseball, he paved the way for the future of Cuban American baseball stars. Many of whom give thanks for the precedent Minoso set for players to come and play in the United States. Current White Sox player Jose Abreu gave thanks to Minoso for being the trail blazer for Cuban players and being one of the first players to give hope to kids in Cuba who wanted to play in the MLB.
While Minnie Minoso didn’t have the eye-popping numbers of some MLB greats, his statistics bely a player worthy of the Hall of Fame. He has a career WAR of 53.6 In 2001, historian Bill James selected Miñoso as the tenth greatest left fielder of all time; based on the then-general belief that Miñoso was born in 1922 rather than 1925, James wrote, “Had he gotten the chance to play when he was 21 years old, I think he’d probably be rated among the top thirty players of all time.”
Minnie Minoso is among the top five AL players in WAR for seven of his MLB seasons, ranking first in WAR for two of those seasons.
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