Minnie Minoso, R.I.P. - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Minnie Minoso, R.I.P.

Former big league outfielder and third baseman Minnie Minoso was found dead this morning in his car. His family believes it was due to a heart condition. Minoso is officially listed as 89 but might have been 92.

Born in Cuba, Minoso would attract the attention of Cleveland Indians owner Bill Veeck while playing in the Negro Leagues and signed him in 1948. The following year Minoso made his big league debut becoming the first black Cuban to play in MLB.

However, early in the 1951 season, Minoso was dealt to the Chicago White Sox in a seven player trade that also involved the Philadelphia A’s. Minoso would finish runner up in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting behind Gil McDougald of the New York Yankees. Minoso led the AL in both stolen bases and triples that year and would do so two more times in his career. He was also named to the first of seven AL All-Star teams. Minoso would also earn three Gold Gloves for his outfield play.

Unfortunately, Minoso would not be part of the 1959 Go-Go White Sox which won the AL pennant. He was traded back to the Indians for Early Wynn prior to the 1958 season. He would return to the Chisox in time for the 1960 season where would have the last of his four 100 RBI seasons. Minoso would play for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1962 and with the Washington Senators in 1963 before returning to the Chisox in 1964 where he appeared to have ended his playing career.

In 1976, Veeck once again owned the White Sox. And with Veeck you got bread and circuses. That season Minoso, at the age of 50, would appear in three games and collect one hit in eight at bats. Four years later, Minoso would have two pinch hitting appearances for the Chisox but failed to collect a hit. Ironically, this would drive his lifetime batting average below .300 (.298). He would collect 1,963 hits, belt 186 HR, drive in 1,023, steal 205 bases and have an OBP of .389. 

There is a strong contigent who believe Minoso should be in the Hall of Fame as he was among the premier players in the AL during the 1950’s. He only received 1.8% of the vote in 1969 and fell off the ballot. But because of his pinch hitting appearances in 1980, he would return to the ballot in 1986. However, he struggled to get more than 20% of the BBWAA vote and fell off the ballot again in 1999. 

In 2011 and in 2014, Minoso was given another look by the Golden Era Veterans Committee but failed to get inducted. I sincerely hope that in 2017 that they don’t pull another Santo and vote him in posthumously. Don’t get me wrong. The Hall of Fame is better with Ron Santo and Minnie Minoso than without them. But I’d much rather see a player voted in while he is still alive and can enjoy the induction ceremony along with his family, his peers and the fans. 


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