It is May 1, 1951—a chilly spring day in Chicago. At Comiskey Park, Minnie Miñoso steps up to the plate for his first at bat for the White Sox. On the very first pitch from the Yankees’ Vic Raschi, Miñoso hammers a two-run homer. It is the beginning of a stellar career with the White Sox.
Over parts of 20 seasons, Miñoso racked up 195 home runs, 216 stolen bases, 1,089 RBIs and 1,227 runs scored. He was a seven-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove winner, while topping a batting average of .300 in eight seasons. He was also the first black Cuban to play for the White Sox.
Now, at last, Minnie Miñoso has been honored for his outstanding play by induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Miñoso’s HOF induction has been a long time in the making. His family and dedicated fans have been petitioning for years to honor the man known as “Mr. White Sox” and “The Cuban Comet.”
As a personal aside, Nash family members are lifelong White Sox fans. My brother Gordon Nash, the former president of the Chicago Bar Association, has been one of the outspoken champions of the Minnie Miñoso for Hall of Fame cause.
“Minnie was a five-tool player—speed, hit for average, hit for power, strong arm, and he could play defense,” Gordon recalls. “He was a star who every day brought energy and joy to White Sox baseball. Nobody in the history of the game enjoyed playing baseball more than Minnie. As a Sox fan, it was a delight knowing he was our guy.”
The son of a sugarcane plantation worker, Miñoso was born in 1923 in a small town near Havana. He began his baseball career in the Negro leagues in 1946 and became an All-Star third baseman with the New York Cubans.
At his HOF induction his widow, Sharon Rice-Miñoso, reflected that “Baseball was his life. He was proud to wear his uniform, to come to the ballpark every day, to greet fans with a smile and sign autograph after autograph. Some people believe that Minnie signed an autograph for every man, woman and child in the Windy City.”
Miñoso is part of the Cooperstown class of 2022 alongside Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Bud Fowler, Buck O’Neil and David Ortiz. The HOF honors for Miñoso are in addition to his jersey (#9) being retired by the White Sox in 1983, and in 2004 Minnie Miñoso helped unveil a statue of himself in his iconic batting stance at Guaranteed Rate Field (then U.S. Cellular Field.)
Minnie Miñoso passed away in 2015 but now is part of baseball immortality.