Minnie Minoso has a statue at Guaranteed Rate Field and now will forever be enshrined in Cooperstown. While Minoso played in seven separate decades for several clubs, he is “Mr. White Sox.”
Minoso always dreamed of playing in the big leagues and, at the age of just 16, set out to do just that. He turned down a $50,000.00 dollar offer to play in the Mexican League to sign with the New York Cubans of the Negro National League. Minnie led his team to a World Championship in 1947. It would not be long after that his dream of being a Major League Baseball player would be realized. Minoso originally signed with the Cleveland Indians, debuting in 1949 but only appearing in nine games and tallied just three hits.
While a stroll down memory lane with Minoso would seem more like climbing Mount Everest due to his long tenure in baseball, it is worth the walk. Minoso reaching the Hall of Fame in 2021. In my opinion, is too little too late. Minoso should have been in years ago, but that argument is for a different day. Today, we will just enjoy his long-awaited, well-deserved enshrinement. Minoso was a nine-time all-star and a barrier breaker for so many Black and Latino players to come after him.
Minoso was, is, and will always be a fixture for the Chicago White Sox organization. When kids look at the statue of Minnie at Guaranteed Rate they will hopefully will gain an idea of Minoso’s meaning to the game and to the White Sox. Minnie passed away in 2015 at the age of 90 but will surely be remembered for years to come. His passion and charisma for the game of baseball have been said to be unimaginable. Minoso loved the game of baseball and unfortunately it took the game, and its voters for the Hall of Fame, a touch to long to love him back.
While looking back at some of Minoso’s accomplishments, it is hard to understand why anyone would second-guess his enshrinement. Minnie was a career .299 hitter with a .387 on-base percentage. While those are basic numbers, one could dig a little deeper. He played in 1,946 games across 20 years in the major leagues and cranked out 2,110 hits while striking out just 584 times. To put that into perspective a little, that is an average of just under 30 strikeouts per season. In comparison, Reggie Jackson played 21 seasons in Major League Baseball and struck out 2,597 times! While Jackson did have significantly more at-bats and plate appearances, the strikeouts per season are undeniable. Minoso’s small 30 strikeouts per season are far better in comparison to Jackson’s roughly 123 per season. Jackson a Hall of Famer in his own right, had a much different career at a different time in baseball. Was it a different game? Maybe, but those numbers cannot be ignored.
I think Jerry Reinsdorf actually summed it up quite well in his statement on Minoso’s Hall of Fame Induction, “The announcement is a terrific, well-deserved, and a long overdue honor for Minnie Miñoso and the Miñoso family. While bittersweet because of his passing in 2015, the Hall of Fame is the fitting capstone to Minnie’s amazing career that started in segregation and ultimately led to Cooperstown.”
In summary, Minnie Minoso should have been a Hall of Fame inductee while still alive to enjoy the ceremony. While he will not be with us to go in to the Hall, his family, including his son, know what a light Minnie shined on this great game we all love. As Charlie Minoso said, ” It means a great deal, we just wish Dad were here to enjoy it.” Minoso will be remembered as baseball’s first Black Latino, but to his family he was so much more. His widow Sharon-Rice Minoso said, ” There is no better person to represent baseball.” I have to humbly agree.
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