Minnie Minoso, the Chicago White Sox player who became the first Black Cuban player in major league baseball, has died, the Cook County medical examiner said Sunday. Reports differ over Minoso's age but the White Sox say he was 92.
Known as the "Cuban Comet," Minoso began his career in the Negro league in 1946, becoming an All-Star third baseman with the New York Cubans in 1947 and 1948. He was signed by the Cleveland Indians after the 1948 season as baseball's color line slowly fell, and went on to become a seven-time All-Star. In 1951, as a rookie left fielder for the Chicago White Sox, he became the first Black player in White Sox franchise history, and one of the first Latin Americans to be named to a major league All-Star team.
The White Sox, the organization for whom he played 12 out of his 17 seasons, tried unsuccessfully over the years to get the Havana native into baseball's Hall of Fame.
"When I watched Minnie Minoso play, I always thought I was looking at a Hall of Fame player," White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in 2011. "I never understood why Minnie wasn't elected. He did everything. He could run, he could field, he could hit with power, he could bunt and steal bases. He was one of the most exciting players I have ever seen."
"My last dream is to be in Cooperstown, to be with those guys," Minoso also said in 2011. "I want to be there. This is my life's dream."
"Every young player in Cuba wanted to be like Minnie Minoso, and I was one of them," Hall of Fame slugger Tony Perez said. "The way he played the game, hard all the time, hard. He was very consistent playing the game. He tried to win every game. And if you want to be like somebody, and I picked Minnie, you have to be consistent."
Minoso was considered for a Hall of Fame bid again in 2014 and fell short of the required percentage for induction.
"I have baseball in my blood," he said. "Baseball is all I've ever wanted to do."
BET Sports News — Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports, including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photo: David Banks/Getty Images)