Burgos: Minnie, Jungle Jim, and the Go-Go Sox

From SABR member Adrian Burgos Jr. at La Vida Baseball on December 1, 2017:

“I gave my life to the game. And the game gave me everything.”      — Orestes ‘Minnie’ Miñoso, 1993

Emblazoned on a wall in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s exhibit of Oswaldo Salas’ American baseball photographs — a collection titled “The New Face of Baseball” — Minnie Miñoso’s words capture his relationship with baseball.

The Cuban native fell in love with baseball at a young age. That wasn’t unusual for boys of his generation. What separated him from his childhood peers on the island was how great he was at the game.

The game provided not just a livelihood, but the opportunity to be a trailblazer. Miñoso helped clear a path for others as the first black Latino in Major League Baseball, debuting with the Cleveland Indians on April 19, 1949. His on-field excellence and cheerful personality made him a hero to countless Latinos and African-Americans in Chicago and throughout the Americas.

For certain, Miñoso was not alone. Baseball has provided generations of Latinos an opportunity to escape poverty, whether in Latin America or U.S. barrios. The game has always been a place for individuals to find themselves — their better selves, to be precise — after falling down, in both a literal and figurative sense.

Read the full article here: https://www.lavidabaseball.com/el-profe-minnie-minoso-jim-rivera-go-go-sox/#.WiGAmSSJthA.twitter

Originally published: December 1, 2017. Last Updated: December 1, 2017.