Tag Archives: Minnie Minoso

TODAY IN 1962: A BRIEF FAREWELL TO MINNIE

On this date in 1962, the White Sox said goodbye to the popular Minnie Minoso for the second time in four years.

The Sox made Minoso, one day shy of his his 36th birthday, a National Leaguer for the only time by trading him to the St. Louis Cardinals for first baseman Joe Cunningham.

This wasn’t the last the White Sox would hear from Minoso.

After brief stints with the Cards in 1962 and Senators in 1963, Minnie returned to the Sox for 30 games in 1964 and then set decade records with appearances for the 1976 and 1980 Sox.

The 1961 deal was a goodie for the Sox and general manager Ed Short.

While Minnie was having a hard time staying in the lineup in St. Louis, Cunningham hit .295 with eight homers, 70 RBIs and 101 walks while leading A.L. first basemen with a .994 fielding percentage for the 1962 Sox.

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ALL ATWITTER OVER MINNIE’S HALL CAMPAIGN

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Minnie Miñoso’s career was one of firsts.

He was the first African American to play for the White Sox.

He was Major League Baseball’s first Cuban star.

He was the first big leaguer to appear in five different decades.

If Chris Kamka and scores of others have their way, Minnie will be the first player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame thanks to a primary push from Twitter.

The stats coordinator for Comcast SportsNet Chicago recently launched the @Minoso9HOF Twitter account (with the #MinnieHOF hashtag) to ramp up the campaign to get Minoso his long overdue spot in Cooperstown.

The account has 653 followers and counting.

“After seeing the incredible Hall of Fame campaign for Tim Raines launched by Jonah Keri, Ryan Spaeder and others, it made me think that maybe it isn’t too late to get the ball rolling for Minnie,” Kamka said. “I know he’s not on the ballot and that it’s a much tougher mountain to climb, but everything needs to start somewhere.

“A spot in the Hall of Fame is something Minnie deserves, and even though he’s not here to see it, it’s something his family deserves to see as well. And it’s something White Sox fans and Minnie Miñoso fans deserve to see. And at the very least, I can use this opportunity to honor a great ballplayer and a great man.”

Raines’ candidacy, which resulted in a successful election in January, got on-line support from the likes of Keri and Spaeder.

Kamka isn’t alone in his drum-beating for Miñoso’s Hall of Fame induction.

A quick Google search of “Minnie Miñoso Hall of Fame” produces countless articles from organizations such as ESPN and the New York Times touting and supporting the “Cuban Comet’s” candidacy for the Hall.

Miñoso made 15 appearances on the Baseball Writers Association of America’s Hall of Fame ballot but never approached the 75 percent needed to get elected. Minnie’s best showing on the writers ballot was in 1988 when he was listed on 21.1 percent of the vote.

The Veterans Committee and Golden Days committee have failed Minnie repeatedly with the most recent disappointment coming in 2015. The next time this era is up for election is in 2020.

The Miñoso/Kamka account, which uses the hashtag #MinnieHOF, features a timeline which is dotted with stats, facts and anecdotes on the colorful and remarkable career of Miñoso, who died on March 1, 2015.

Some examples:

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For Kamka, who makes a living crunching, contextualizing and making sense of the numbers, this campaign is a no-brainer.

“Minnie Miñoso is deserving Hall of Famer because he was an All-Star performer in the Negro Leagues, because he was a pioneer for Black Latinos in the Majors and because he was a dominant player in the American League for a long period of time,” said Kamka, whose @ckamka Twitter account has over 22,000 followers.

“Minnie is a great source of pride among White Sox fans and among baseball fans in general. Seemingly every White Sox fan has a Minnie Miñoso story.  He was one of the finest baseball ambassadors of his day.

REMEMBERING MINNIE MINOSO

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.