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Sun, 11.29.1925

Minnie Miñoso, Baseball Player born

Minnie Miñoso

*Minnie Miñoso was born on this date in 1925.  He was an Afro Cuban baseball player and coach.  

Saturnino Orestes Armas Miñoso Arrieta was born in Perico, Cuba, near Havana, the son of Carlos Arrieta and Cecilia Armas.  His father worked in the fields of the sugarcane plantation on which the family lived. His mother had four other children from a previous marriage with her first husband's surname, "Miñoso." Her son Orestes became referred to as a "Miñoso," too. Eventually, this name became his last name; he legally changed his name to Orestes Miñoso when he became a US citizen. Miñoso grew up playing baseball with two brothers and managed his team.  

While working on his father's plantation, he found players and equipment. In 1941, he moved to Havana to live with his sister and play baseball there. Miñoso played professional baseball as a third baseman in Cuba and the Negro leagues. He signed a contract with the team from the borough of Marianao in 1945 for $150 per month and moved into the Negro leagues with the New York Cubans the next season and doubled his monthly salary. Batting leadoff for the Cubans, he hit .309 in 1946 and followed up with a .294 average in 1947 as they won the Negro World Series over the Cleveland Buckeyes. He was the starting third baseman for the East in the 1947 All-Star Game and in 1948.  

Following the end of segregation in Major League Baseball, Miñoso signed with the Cleveland Indians organization during the 1948 season and started his minor league career with the Dayton Indians of the Central League, batting .525 in 11 games. From there, nicknamed "The Cuban Comet" and "Mr. White Sox", Miñoso went on to become an All-Star left fielder with the first Black Cuban in the major leagues and the first Black player in White Sox history; as a 1951 rookie, he was one of the first Latin Americans to play in an MLB All-Star Game.  He lived in Chicago, representing the Chicago White Sox as "Mr. White Sox".   

Miñoso was an American League (AL) All-Star for seven seasons and a Gold Glove winner for three seasons when he was in his 30s. He batted over .300 for eight seasons. He was the AL leader in triples and stolen bases three times each and in hits, doubles, and total bases once each. Willie Mays (179 steals) and Miñoso (167 steals) have been widely credited with leading the resurgence of speed as an offensive weapon in the 1950s. Miñoso was particularly adept at reaching base, leading the AL in times hit by a pitch ten times and holding the league mark for career times hit by a pitch from 1959 to 1985. Miñoso, as a defensive standout, led the AL left fielders in assists six times, putouts, and double plays four times each.  

Miñoso was among the most popular and dynamic players in the White Sox franchise history. He helped the "Go-Go" White Sox become one of the premier teams of the 1950s and 1960s. A rare power threat on a team known for speed and defense, Miñoso also held the White Sox record for career home runs from 1956 to 1974.  Miñoso left the major leagues following the 1964 season but went on playing and managing in Mexico through 1973.

He rejoined the White Sox as a coach and made brief but highly publicized player appearances in 1976 and 1980. He became the third player to get a hit after age 50 and the second to appear in the major leagues in five decades. He married Sharon Rice in the 1990s, and they have one son, Charles.  He also has three children from a previous marriage: Orestes Jr., Cecilia, and Marilyn. His eldest son, Orestes Jr., briefly played professional baseball.  

His White Sox uniform number 9 was retired in 1983, and a statue of him was unveiled at U.S. Cellular Field in 2004. Miñoso was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in Exile in 1983.  He became a member of the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, the Mexican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996, the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame on August 11, 2002, and the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.

Miñoso was inducted into the Baseball Reliquary's Shrine of the Eternals in 2002.  In 2014, Miñoso appeared for the second time as a candidate on the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Golden Era Committee election ballot for possible Hall of Fame consideration in 2015. The other candidates, including former White Sox teammate Billy Pierce and two former players from Cuba, Tony Oliva and Luis Tiant, all missed induction in 2015.  

On September 19, 2004, Minnie Miñoso Day was celebrated at U.S. Cellular Field, and there was a pregame unveiling of a Minnie Miñoso statue at the field. Miñoso received the 2011 Jerome Holtzman Award from the Chicago Baseball Museum.  Minnie Miñoso died on March 1, 2015, from a torn pulmonary artery resulting from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A funeral service was held for him at Holy Family Church in Chicago with over 1,000 dignitaries, officials, friends, and fans.  "For South Siders and Sox fans, including me, Minnie Miñoso is and will always be ‘Mr. White Sox,’" President Barack Obama said in a statement released by the White House.   Minnie Miñoso was inducted into the MLB Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022.

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