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.
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.