Minnie Minoso

Minnie Minoso ChiSox

When Minnie Minoso recently passed away at the age of 89, the city of Chicago and the world of baseball suffered yet another broken heart, much like in February when Ernie Banks died. Minnie Minoso has always been one of my favorite players from yesteryear. How can you not love a Cuban who played in the Negro Leagues, old Pacific Coast League, the Major Leagues and the Mexican League? He lived a long life in baseball and it was apparent that the man still loved the game very much as he was still quite involved with the White Sox.

If you’re not familiar with Minnie Minoso, a great starting point would be to watch the documentary “Baseball’s Been Very, Very Good to Me: Minnie Minoso Story.” It’s currently streaming for free, so you have no excuse to watch it. If you’re  familiar with the man that helped knocked down the barriers that stood in the way for both Latin and black players alike, I hope you appreciate this post which gives a snapshot into different eras of his long and storied career. Rest in peace, Minnie. May the world of baseball never forget you and hopefully you will get your spot in Cooperstown soon.

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Minoso Mariano Tigers

In 1945, Minnie Minoso made his professional debut with Havana’s Marianao Club of the Cuban League. The 19 year old was paid $150 a month while primarily playing third base for the team. Minoso, or the “Cuban Comet” as many called him, is a member of the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame.

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Minnie Minoso &  Lino Dinoso

At the age of only 20, Minnie Minoso left his country in 1946 and joined the New York Cubans of the Negro Leagues, where he proceeded to become a two time All-Star and helped the team win the Negro League World Series in 1947. Minoso played in the Negro Leagues until the Cleveland Indians signed him as an amateur free agent late in the 1948 season. He was immediately sent him to their single A affiliate team in Dayton, where he finished out the season.

In this photo, Minnie (right) poses for a photo with teammate Lino Donoso during his time with the New York Cubans.

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Minoso San Diego Padres Speech

After signing with the Indians late in 1948, Minoso proceeded to make his MLB debut during a quick cup of coffee in the big leagues early in the 1949 season. After spending 9 games with Cleveland, he spent the rest of 1949 and all of the 1950 season with the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League, where the team operated as an affiliate of the Indians from 1949 to 1951. Minoso flourished in San Diego, where he became a fan favorite and put up an accumulated .319 batting average, hit 42 home runs, drove in 190 RBI and stole 43 bases. Due to these numbers and the impact he had on the team, Minoso was elected to the PCL Padres Hall of Fame.

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Minoso LF Indians

During Minoso’s time in the Indians’ organization, he was converted from a third basemen to a left fielder and was soon recognized as one of the best defensive left fielders in the game. In what surely ended up being a move the team regretted, Minoso was traded to American League rival Chicago White Sox in April of 1951, when it became evident that Minoso did not have a spot on the team. As they often say, the rest was history.

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Minnie Minoso ST 1956 ChiSox

From 1951 onwards, Minoso was one of the best players in the Major Leagues. Minoso was an 9 time All-Star and earned himself 3 Gold Glove awards. With the exception of short stints with the Senators, Cardinals and even re-joining the Indians at one point, the rest of his Major League career was spent in Chicago. I can list more of his accomplishments in Chicago, but all you really need to know is that he eventually took on the name “Mr. White Sox” and made a significant impact on the organization, which eventually retired his #9 uniform number. Minoso’s playing career in the Major Leagues essentially ended after the 1964 season, but he was far from done playing the game he loved.

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Minnie Minoso Mexico

After Minnie’s MLB career ended, the Mexican League came calling and he spent the next 9 seasons there as a player and player-manager. Due to his accomplishments in Mexico, he was elected to the Mexican League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.

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In 1976, Bill Veeck convinced Minoso to rejoin the team as a coach, which Minnie happily agreed to. In a September series against the Angels, the 50 year old Minoso was reactivated as a player and served as a pinch hitter and designated hitter. He hit a single against Sid Monge on September 12th and became the 4th oldest player in history to get a hit in a Major League game. I can watch this video over and over again and not get sick of it.

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Minnie Minoso & Jose Abreu

From his return to the White Sox in 1976 up until his death, Minoso was still very much involved with the White Sox in different capacities and was currently a community relations representative for the team. One of the more interesting aspects of his later years was his relationship his sparked with Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, whom he took under his wing last season and became a mentor to.

Abreu was quoted as saying that he cared about Minoso like a family member and that in regards to his death said “It’s something that’s very painful for all of the Cubans that are here and for the fans of the White Sox, the organization and everyone. It’s something that’s very difficult. He was an incredible person. I learned so much from him.” 

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~ by duaneharris19 on April 3, 2015.

One Response to “Minnie Minoso”

  1. What a wonderful tribute to this good man. Well done. There’s something about that last hit. I’ve already watched it twice. Thanks.

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