April 28, 1962: Minnie Miñoso rallies Cardinals to win over Reds

This article was written by John Fredland

Minnie MinosoAfter a three-season Negro National League liftoff, Minnie Miñoso’s career as integrated baseball’s first Afro-Latino star blazed almost entirely in the American League, from 1949 debut with the Cleveland Indians through late-season appearances with the Chicago White Sox more than a quarter-century later.

Miñoso crossed over to the National League only once, in 1962, when the St. Louis Cardinals added him to a roster laden with promising young Black and Latino players, slotted him into the heart of their lineup, and hailed his leadership. A series of injuries limited the 2022 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee’s impact in St. Louis, but Miñoso occasionally flashed star form, such as when he and several young teammates spearheaded a 5-4 comeback win over the Cincinnati Reds on April 28 at Busch Stadium.

Saturnino Orestes “Minnie Miñoso” Arrieta’s second tour with the White Sox ended on November 27, 1961, when Chicago traded him to the Cardinals for Joe Cunningham. Known by a half-brother’s surname since childhood, then nicknamed Minnie in the United States, Miñoso during his White Sox’ two tenures of 1951-57 and 1960-61 – interrupted by a two-season return to Cleveland – had become one of Chicago’s most beloved ballplayers,1 as he broke the color barrier for the city’s major-league teams, became a perennial All-Star, and finished fourth in the American League MVP voting as late as 1960. Still, general manager Ed Short dealt him soon after announcing plans for a youth movement.2

Miñoso’s birth year was a mystery in 1961 – as it remains in the twenty-first century – but the native Cuban was believed to be in his late 30s or early 40s, making him a likely trade candidate for a team looking to get younger.3

The trade thrust Miñoso into what turned out to be a franchise-defining transition in St. Louis.4 Alongside celebrated outfielder Stan Musial and All-Star third baseman Ken Boyer were a flock of Cardinals in their mid-20s or younger. Many were Black or Latino, a notable change for a team that had been relatively slow to integrate.5

First baseman Bill White, an All-Star for the third season in a row in 1961, was the first of the group to establish himself in the majors. Behind him were 26-year-old pitcher Bob Gibson, 25-year-old second baseman Julián Javier, 24-year-old center fielder Curt Flood, and 22-year-old shortstop Julio Gotay.

The Cardinals had upgraded their field leadership in July 1961, when Johnny Keane replaced Solly Hemus, whose racism had alienated the team’s non-White players.6 A 47-33 finish under Keane boosted hopes for their first pennant since 1946.7

Musial, winding down his career at age 41, likened Miñoso to a Cardinal great of the recent past.

“He’s the type of guy who’s good to have around,” Musial said in January 1962.8 “He’s a hustler like Enos Slaughter, but he’s much more relaxed than Enos, and he keeps the other players loose.”9

Miñoso had appeared in at least 147 games nine times in 11 seasons, but his bad breaks started right away in 1962. He aggravated a rib injury in St. Louis’s second game and missed eight games.10

In Miñoso’s third game back, the opener of a weekend series with the defending NL champion Reds on April 27, he hit two doubles in a 14-3 Cardinals win.11 A day later, on Saturday afternoon, he was batting third and playing left field.12

After a 30-minute rain delay before the game and 65 more minutes of rain in the bottom of the first, Cincinnati capitalized on poor defense to go ahead in the second. Reigning National League MVP Frank Robinson reached first when shortstop Gotay bobbled his grounder for an error. With Wally Post batting, catcher Gene Oliver mishandled a low breaking ball from another young Cardinal, 21-year-old left-hander Ray Sadecki; Robinson took second on the passed ball.

Oliver failed to corral another low pitch, and Robinson moved up on the second passed ball of the inning. Two batters later, Johnny Edwards’ fly to left drove in Robinson for a 1-0 Reds’ lead.

Aggressive baserunning yielded another Reds run in the fourth. After Vada Pinson singled, Robinson landed a fly ball inside the line in left. As Pinson advanced to third, Robinson rounded first and headed to second. He slid hard under Miñoso’s throw, knocking down Javier.

Javier was slow to recover, and Pinson dashed for the plate and scored standing up, giving Cincinnati a 2-0 lead.

The Cardinals had at least one baserunner in each of the first three innings against left-hander Jim O’Toole – who had contributed 19 wins and the NL’s second-best ERA to Cincinnati’s 1961 pennant push – but were scoreless until Miñoso started the fourth by doubling high off the screen in right and scoring on White’s two-out single.

Singles by Edwards and rookie Cookie Rojas to open the fifth set up the Reds to respond. But Sadecki turned O’Toole’s bunt into a force at third, and Gotay made a lunging back-hand catch of Leo Cardenas’s liner, then tossed to second to double off Rojas.

Gotay followed up his defensive gem by leading off the bottom of the fifth with a hard grounder that took a bad hop past Eddie Kasko at third for a single. After Sadecki bunted into a force and Flood lined out, Javier kept the inning going with a sharp grounder off Kasko’s glove for another single.

With two on and two out, Miñoso smashed a one-hopper toward third. Striking Kasko’s glove, the ball caromed into the Cardinals bullpen in foul territory. Sadecki scored, and Javier beat Robinson’s throw home for another run. It was scored a double, and Miñoso took third on the throw.

Kasko’s misfortune continued when he missed Boyer’s “between-hops” grounder. Miñoso came home on the error, and the Cardinals led, 4-2.13

Now with the lead, Sadecki encountered trouble in the seventh. Singles by Wally Post, Edwards, and Rojas produced a run and set up the Reds with runners at the corners and one out. But Sadecki retired pinch-hitter Don Pavletich and Cardenas to preserve the one-run lead.

Gotay’s hustle produced an insurance run in the bottom of the inning. He led off by stretching a hit off reliever Jim Brosnan into a double, then tagged up and took third on Sadecki’s fly to left. The Reds pulled the infield in, and Flood’s bouncer got through for an RBI single, giving Flood a 23-game hitting streak – dating to September 1961 – and pushing the Cardinals’ lead to 5-3.

Sadecki pitched around a leadoff walk in the eighth and returned to finish the game in the ninth. But Gordy Coleman led off with a walk and took third when Edwards doubled to deep right-center for his third hit of the game. With the tying run on second, Keane called on his fireman, right-hander Lindy McDaniel, who had an 0.87 ERA in his first 10? innings in 1962.

Reds manager Fred Hutchinson sent lefty Jerry Lynch – a .404 hitter with five home runs as a pinch-hitter in 1961 – to bat for Rojas. Flood hauled in Lynch’s long fly to center; Coleman scored, and Edwards moved to third.

Hutchinson called on another left-handed pinch-hitter, Marty Keough, who walked. Cincinnati had the potential tying run on third and the go-ahead run on first.

But the Cardinals infield had one more big play in them. Cardenas grounded to second, and Javier threw to Gotay at the bag. Pivoting quickly, Gotay relayed to White to retire the speedy Cardenas and complete the game-ending double play. The Cardinals had held on for a 5-4 win.

Black and Latino Cardinals – Miñoso, White, Javier, Gotay, Flood – had been involved in each of St. Louis’s five runs, and St. Louis’s Latino double-play combination had extinguished Cincinnati’s last hope in the ninth. The win was part of a 7-1-1 surge in the first nine games after Miñoso’s return from his rib injury. “[His] spirit has given us a real lift,” Keane said.14

Despite the early hitting and good cheer, however, Miñoso never got untracked as a Cardinal. As it happened, two of his career trademarks – all-out play and getting hit by pitches – were his undoing.

On May 11 Miñoso fractured his skull and broke his right wrist when he collided with Busch Stadium’s concrete wall in left while chasing Duke Snider’s triple.15 He returned to action in July but missed more time after being hit under the eye with a ball in batting practice on July 21.16

Back in the lineup at last, Miñoso – who led the AL in hit-by-pitch a record 10 times in his career – was hit in his left forearm by Craig Anderson of the New York Mets on August 19. The fractured radius ended Miñoso’s season with a .196 batting average in 39 games, his fewest since he became a regular in 1951.17

The Cardinals finished sixth in the NL in 1962. When sportswriter Bob Broeg canvassed players about the disappointing season, “[t]hey … expressed belief that Minnie Minoso would have given them a boost at bat and also psychologically.”18

Miñoso’s NL time was up when the Cardinals sold him to the Washington Senators in April 1963.19 In St. Louis, it took additional trades for a veteran (acquiring shortstop Dick Groat from the Pittsburgh Pirates in November 1962) and a speedy left fielder (obtaining Lou Brock from the Chicago Cubs in June 1964) before the youthful core yielded a World Series championship in 1964.



This article was fact-checked by Thomas Brown and copy-edited by Len Levin. SABR members Gary Belleville and Bob Tiemann provided insightful comments on an earlier version of this article, and sportswriter Bradford William Davis had helpful research assistance.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted Baseball-Reference.com and Retrosheet.org for pertinent information, including the box score and play-by-play. He also relied on coverage from the Cincinnati Enquirer, Dayton Daily News, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspapers and SABR Baseball BioProject biographies for several players and managers referenced in the article, including Warren Corbett’s Solly Hemus biography, John Stahl’s Johnny Keane biography, and Mark Stewart’s Minnie Miñoso biography.





1 Fred Mitchell, “A ‘Genuine’ Icon: ‘Infectious Personality,’ Love of Game Made Sox Legend Beloved Figure,” Chicago Tribune, March 2, 2015: digitalSPORTS: 5.

2 Edward Prell, “Old Favorites on Trading Block,” Chicago Tribune, October 17, 1961: 4, 1. In addition to dealing Miñoso, the White Sox sent 35-year-old Roy Sievers, their regular first baseman in 1961, and 36-year-old Cal McLish, one of their starting pitchers, to the Philadelphia Phillies in separate trades. Billy Pierce, 34 years old and a mainstay of Chicago’s rotation since 1949, went to the San Francisco Giants, along with 32-year-old reliever Don Larsen.

3 For example, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asserted, “[t]he books show that Minoso … will be 39 years old tomorrow. But he is believed to be 42.” When Miñoso died in March 2015, the Chicago Tribune reported that the “White Sox and his family said he was 90” but also noted that “Minoso’s birthday was listed on baseball-reference.com as Nov. 29, 1925 [which would have made him 89 at the time of his death], but some believed he was as old as 92.” As of July 2022, however, Baseball-Reference.com and the National Baseball Hall of Fame list Miñoso’s birthdate as November 29, 1923. Neal Russo, “Cards Swap Cunningham for Minoso in Bid for Batting Punch,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 28, 1961: 4B. Mitchell, “A ‘Genuine’ Icon.”

4 The History Channel documentary After Jackie, directed by Andre Gaines and released in 2022, provides an outstanding depiction of Bill White, Bob Gibson, and Curt Flood as a wave of Black baseball players who followed Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier and had instrumental roles in the Cardinals’ three NL pennants and two World Series championships from 1964 through 1968.

5 Nine of the 16 major-league teams had integrated before first baseman Tom Alston made his debut with the Cardinals in April 1954; right-hander Brooks Lawrence also joined St. Louis in 1954 and was effective as a swingman. The first Black pitcher to spend an entire season in the Cardinals rotation was Sam Jones in 1957, and Flood became their first Black regular position player in 1958.

6 Peter Golenbock, The Spirit of St. Louis: A History of the St. Louis Cardinals and Browns (New York: Dey Street, 2000), 431.

7 The Cardinals had finished in fifth place in 1961, 13 games behind the pennant-winning Reds, who themselves had jumped from sixth place and 28 games back in 1960 to win the title a season later. In 1960 the Pittsburgh Pirates had followed a fourth-place NL finish with a World Series championship. When he traded for Miñoso, Cardinals general manager Bing Devine had noted, “[The deal is] a definite plus because of the tight league we’re in. It doesn’t take much improvement for a club to climb to the top, as the Pirates and Reds showed the last two seasons.” Russo, “Cards Swap Cunningham for Minoso in Bid for Batting Punch.”

8 Neal Russo, “Musial Announces He Will Retire After 1962 Baseball Season: The Man Signs Pact for 20th Campaign,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 5, 1962: 4B.

9 Russo, “Musial Announces He Will Retire After 1962 Baseball Season.”

10 “Minoso Reinjures Rib, May Be Out Ten Days,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 14, 1962: 1G.

11 Neal Russo, “Bright Home Lights Help Cards Roll to 14-3 Win Over Reds: Simmons Bags No. 3; Sawatski Star at Bat,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 28, 1962: 6A.

12 Miñoso batted either third or sixth in all but three of his 26 starts in 1962. All eight times batting third were against left-handed starters; Keane dropped White, a left-handed batter and St. Louis’s most frequent third-place hitter in 1962, lower in the order against lefties.

13 Bob Broeg, “Cardinals Take First Place by Beating Cincinnati, 5-4: Contest Is a Fiasco for Kasko; Latin Trio Paces 3rd Win in Row,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 29, 1962: 1E.

14 United Press International, “Minoso’s Spirit Gives Cards Lift, Claims Keane,” Springfield (Missouri) News-Leader, May 3, 1962: 11.

15 “Miñoso in Serious Condition After Suffering Skull Fracture,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 13, 1962: 1F. In 1955 Miñoso had suffered a fractured skull when hit by a pitch from Bob Grim of the New York Yankees, but he returned to the lineup after missing just 15 games. “Minnie Minoso in Hospital: X-Rays Reveal Crack in Temporal Bone,” Chicago Tribune, May 25, 1955: 4,1. Miñoso’s injury in 1962 caused the Cardinals to install padding at Busch Stadium for the 1963 season. Neal Russo, “Wall-to-Wall Outfield Padding to Cure Knots on the Noggins,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 27, 1963: 4C.

16 Ed Wilks, “Minoso Hit Under Eye by Schaffer’s Throw,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 22, 1962: 4D.

17 Neal Russo, “Minoso Out for Season With New Fracture,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 22, 1962: 2D.

18 Bob Broeg, “Redbird Players Admit They Were Outhustled,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 30, 1962: 1E.

19 J. Roy Stockton, “Cards Righthanded Relievers Fail After Good Stint by Broglio: Minoso Sold to Senators,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 3, 1963: 2E. Miñoso was with the Senators in 1963, then returned to the White Sox for the 1964 season, mostly as a pinch-hitter. He played in Mexico until 1973 but returned to action for the White Sox briefly in 1976 and 1980.

Additional Stats

St. Louis Cardinals 5
Cincinnati Reds 4

Busch Stadium
St. Louis, MO


Box Score + PBP:

Corrections? Additions?

If you can help us improve this game story, contact us.


1960s ·