I only saw Minnie Minoso play once and it was through the fuzziness of a black and white, pre-cable television in Oct. of 1980. That, of course, was when Minnie played in his record fifth decade as a member of Bill Veeck’s White Sox.

Most of my knowledge of Minnie as the “Cuban Comet” has come through books, websites and grainy newsreel footage.

Why, then, did I feel such as sense of loss and emotion upon hearing of his death on Sunday (March 1, 2015).

I was grieving more over the loss of Minnie the ambassador, his presence and the lover of baseball than I was over the loss of a great player.

Minnie made everyone he touched feel good about baseball, the White Sox and U.S. Cellular Field.

The last time I saw him, I was zipping through the lobby at the Cell. As always, I shook his hand and said, “Next stop, Coooperstown.”

As with the first time I met him, he looked at me and said, “Hello, my friend.”

Our friend. Always and forever.



  1. Statement by the President on the Passing of Minnie Minoso

    For South Siders and Sox fans all across the country, including me, Minnie Minoso is and will always be “Mr. White Sox.”

    The first black Major Leaguer in Chicago, Minnie came to the United States from Cuba even though he could have made more money elsewhere. He came up through the Negro Leagues, and didn’t speak much English at first. And as he helped to integrate baseball in the 1950s, he was a target of racial slurs from fans and opponents, sometimes forced to stay in different motels from his teammates. But his speed, his power – and his resilient optimism – earned him multiple All-Star appearances and Gold Gloves in left field, and he became one of the most dominant and dynamic players of the 1950s.

    Minnie may have been passed over by the Baseball Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but for me and for generations of black and Latino young people, Minnie’s quintessentially American story embodies far more than a plaque ever could.

    Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family and fans in Chicago, Cleveland, and around the world.


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