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Former White Sox legend Minnie Miñoso elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

by Joe Binder

The wait is finally over.

On Sunday, those appointed to consider the Hall of Fame’s two era-committee ballots convened and delivered their decision, electing former White Sox great Minnie Miñoso into baseball immortality. The longtime outfielder received 14 of the possible 16 votes (87.5%) to gain his long-awaited entrance into Cooperstown.

Additionally chosen in the 2022 class were Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Bud Fowler, and Buck O’Neil. While all were most definitely deserving, Miñoso finally getting his rightful due officially erases one of the biggest voids in the museum’s history.

“This tremendous honor would have meant a great deal to my dad, and it means a great deal to us,” Miñoso’s son Charlie Rice-Miñoso said. “My dad lived the American Dream. He was able to open doors and break barriers all while doing what he loved, fulfilling his life-long dream of being a major league baseball player. He devoted his life to baseball, to all the fans, to the community and to Chicago, which he loved. He was so proud to be Black, to be a Cuban, to be an American and to be a professional baseball player for the Chicago White Sox. He also would have been so very proud to be a Hall of Famer.”

Miñoso now joins Luis Aparicio (1984), Luke Appling (1964), Harold Baines (2019), Eddie Collins (1939), Charles Comiskey (1939), Red Faber (1964), Carlton Fisk (2000), Nellie Fox (1997), Al Lopez (1977), Ted Lyons (1955), Ray Schalk (1955), Frank Thomas (2014), Bill Veeck (1991), Ed Walsh (1946) and Hoyt Wilhelm (1985) as the 16th person in franchise history elected to the Hall of Fame – with the White Sox serving as each of the aforementioned players’ “primary” team.

“Today’s announcement is a terrific, well-deserved and long overdue honor for Minnie Miñoso and the Miñoso family,” said Jerry Reinsdorf, White Sox chairman. “While bittersweet because of his passing in 2015, Hall of Fame induction is the fitting capstone to Minnie’s amazing career in baseball, a career that started in segregation and ultimately led to Cooperstown. Trailblazer among Afro-Latinos and Cubans, five-tool dynamo on the baseball diamond, ‘Mr. White Sox,’ ambassador for baseball and the Chicago White Sox, teammate and friend, any description of his career now ends with the words, ‘Hall of Famer.’ How right and how appropriate for someone who loved the game of baseball with every breath he took. While we all wish he could be here to celebrate with us now, as well as next July, I know our friend is smiling broadly tonight.”

A native of Cuba, Miñoso was nothing short of a pioneer for fellow Latin Americans. He made his major league debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1949 and simultaneously became the game’s first-ever black Cuban player. He was later traded to the White Sox in 1951 as part of a three-team exchange, beginning the first of his several stints with the organization.

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Miñoso became an instant sensation upon his arrival, hitting a home run in his first at-bat while also breaking barriers as the franchise’s first black player. He would go on to represent the South Side for 12 seasons, slashing .304/.397/.468 with 135 home runs, 808 RBI, 171 stolen bases, and a .865 OPS. By the end of his 17-season major league career, Miñoso earned nine All-Star Game selections and three Gold Glove Awards as an outfielder. He was also a two-time Negro League All-Star and a Negro League World Series Champion in 1947.

The beloved Miñoso continued to be a fan favorite in Chicago long after his retirement. He served as a community relations ambassador of the club for decades and had a profound impact on everyone he met. The nickname “Mr. White Sox” was earned to the highest degree prior to his passing in 2015.

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Joining the “Cuban Comet” is once White Sox pitcher Jim Kaat. The southpaw pitched for the South Siders from 1973-75, winning 45 games while putting up a 3.10 ERA and 1.238 WHIP. He also earned the third All-Star selection of his illustrious career during the ’75 season to go along with one of his astounding 16 Gold Gloves. In total, Kaat pitched for 25 seasons with six teams, including the Senators, Twins, Phillies, Yankees and Cardinals.

The Early Baseball Era and Golden Days Era are two of four Era Committees, each of which offer Hall of Fame consideration to managers, umpires, and executives, as well as players who have been retired for more than 15 seasons. Any candidate who receives votes on 75 percent of the ballots cast by the 16-member committee earns election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

This year’s ballots consisted of the following players:

  • The Early Baseball committee (covers the beginning of time to 1950)
    • Bill Dahlen
    • John Donaldson
    • Bud Fowler
    • Vic Harris
    • Grant “Home Run” Johnson
    • Lefty O’Doul
    • Buck O’Neil
    • Dick “Cannonball” Redding
    • Allie Reynolds
    • George “Tubby” Scales
  • The Golden Days committee (covers 1950 to 1969)
    • Dick Allen
      • Received 11 of 16 possible votes (69%). Needed one more for induction.
    • Ken Boyer
    • Gil Hodges
    • Jim Kaat
    • Roger Maris
    • Minnie Minoso
    • Danny Murtaugh
    • Tony Oliva
    • Billy Pierce
    • Maury Wills

Note: The above bolded names have received the necessary votes for election and will be inducted next summer on July 24, 2022 as part of the weekend’s festivities.

To learn more about the upcoming induction, visit baseballhall.org.

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Featured Photo: White Sox/Twitter

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