Wednesday, March 4, 2015
WSC Birth Years: Minnie Minoso
Born: November 29, 1925
As the first black Cuban player to appear in the MLB, Minnie paved the way for countless athletes after him. After becoming a star in the Cuban and Negro Leagues, Minoso signed a contract with the Cleveland Indians and made his MLB debut on April 19, 1949. He bounced between the parent club and the minors, mostly due to racial tensions of the time and not lack of talent, until he was traded to the Chicago White Sox on April 30, 1951, in a three team trade also involving the Philadelphia Athletics.
Minnie hit Chicago with a bang, hitting a 415 foot home run on the very first pitch he saw in his first at-bat against the Yankees on May 1, 1951. The Cuban Comet was second only to Mickey Mantle in WAR, runs scored, total bases, extra base hits, most times on base and runs created from 1951 until 1961 in the American League. He was second to Nellie Fox in triples and hits in the AL from 1951 to 1961. Minoso was also second to Luis Aparicio in stolen bases in the same period in the American League. Minnie would stay with the ChiSox from 1951 until 1957 before being traded to the Cleveland Indians for the 1958 and 1959 seasons. He came back to Chicago for the 1960 and 1961 seasons, spent 1962 playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, played for the Washington Senators during the 1963 season, and came back to the White Sox for the 1964, 1976 and 1980 seasons. He made appearances with the Miami Miracle of the Florida State League and the St. Paul Saints in 2003, to become the only player to have played professionally in seven different decades.
Minoso (aka Mr. White Sox) would make public relations appearances with the Chicago White Sox, up until his death on March 1, 2015. No matter where he went in his baseball life, Minnie always came back to the White Sox.