White Sox legend Minnie Minoso voted into Hall of Fame

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Former Negro Leaguer and Chicago White Sox player Minnie Minoso stands during the national anthem before a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers on Aug. 24, 2013, in Chicago.

    Former Negro Leaguer and Chicago White Sox player Minnie Minoso stands during the national anthem before a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers on Aug. 24, 2013, in Chicago. AP File Photo/Aug. 2013

  • AP File Photo/March 1957Chicago White Sox outfielder Orestes "Minnie" Minoso poses in batting position at Al Lopez Field in Tampa, Fla.

    AP File Photo/March 1957Chicago White Sox outfielder Orestes "Minnie" Minoso poses in batting position at Al Lopez Field in Tampa, Fla.

 
 
Updated 12/5/2021 8:49 PM

Before passing away in 2015 at the age of 90, Minnie Minoso was a fixture at the ballpark.

In his role as White Sox ambassador, Minoso was always available to shake hands and talk baseball.

 

He was also an influential figure to the many Cuban-born players that followed him to the Sox, a roster that started with Jose Contreras, Alexei Ramirez and Jose Abreu and continued on with Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal and Luis Robert.

"Minnie was so special for us," said Ramirez, who played shortstop for the White Sox from 2008-15. "Minnie was the first one to play here and open the door for us."

In his younger days, Minoso was a standout baseball player.

After playing 12 of his 17 major-league seasons with the White Sox, being selected to nine All-Star Games, winning three Gold Gloves, being named the 1951 Sporting News Rookie of the Year and finishing in the top four in MVP voting four times, Minoso was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Golden Days Era committee on Sunday.

"Today's announcement is a terrific, well-deserved and long overdue honor for Minnie Minoso and the Minoso family," White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. "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. A 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.'

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"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."

In addition to Minoso, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva join Bud Fowler and Buck O'Neil of the Early Baseball Era as the first announced members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2022.

Kaat pitched for the White Sox from 1973-75 and was 45-28 with a 3.10 ERA.

Dick Allen, who played for the Sox from 1972-74 and was the American League MVP in '72, was one vote short of making the Hall of Fame on the Golden Days Era ballot.

After playing for the New York Cubans in the Negro National League from 1946-48 and making his major-league debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1949, Minoso joined the White Sox in 1951.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He batted .304 with the Sox and had 135 home runs and 808 RBI along with 260 doubles and 171 stolen bases.

Minoso is one of just two players in major-league history (also Nick Altrock) to appear in a game in five different decades. He appeared in 3 games with the White Sox in 1976 and 2 games in 1980 as a 54-year-old pinch-hitter.

"This tremendous honor would have meant a great deal to my dad, and it means a great deal to us," said Minoso's son, Charlie Rice-Minoso. "My dad lived the American dream. He was able to open doors and break barriers all while doing what he loved, fulfilling his lifelong 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."

The White Sox retired Minoso's No. 9 jersey in 1983.

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