Celebrating Black History in Baseball: Minnie Minoso

By Matt Heckler
Minnie Minoso Chicago White Sox
Public domain image from Bowman baseball card.

The first black player to join the Chicago White Sox organization was Minnie Minoso, who played in eighteen total games for the Cleveland Indians in 1949 and 1951 before being traded to the south siders. Minoso ended up playing parts of 17 seasons in the MLB, including 12 with the White Sox.

Minnie Minoso was born in 1929 in Havana, Cuba. He was primarily a third baseman and a left fielder, but played seven different positions for four different teams in the MLB. During his three seasons in the Negro Leagues, Minoso was .307 hitter as a part of the New York Cubans (1946-1948). The next year, he signed with the Indians and began his major league career. During his tenure as a member of the White Sox, Minoso made it to the AL All-star team a total of six All-Star teams, with another appearance coming during a brief second tenure with the Cleveland Indians.

Minoso was known as a solid all-around player, with more than 10 home runs and 20 doubles in 12 seasons, as well as a career OBP of .389 and a total career OPS of .848. He had five seasons with 100+ runs and four with 100+ RBI, despite his team never reaching the postseason. He also picked up three Gold Glove awards during his career, a testament to the quality of his work as a defender.

Although Minoso is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame, it seems likely that he will eventually be voted in by the Veteran’s Committee. Minnie had his number retired by the Chicago White Sox in 1983, he was elected to the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, and was named to the White Sox All-Century team in 2000. In 2011, Minoso fell only three votes short of being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Golden Era Committee. We’re lucky enough to still have the pioneering Black Cuban baseball player Minnie Minoso with us at the age of 87; hopefully he’ll still be here to hear the inevitable call to the Hall of Fame.

Matt Heckler is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @androiddreamer and add him to your network on Google.

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