From SABR member David Fletcher on December 2, 2011:
The Chicago Baseball Museum is advocating on behalf of two Chicago players that are on the ballot for the Veterans Committee Golden Era. While Ron Santo’s case for inclusion in the Hall of Fame is well known, Minnie Minoso’s story and impact our national pastime has been way too long neglected and under the national radar.
Recently, the White Sox produced an academic symposium (whitesox.com/Minnie) makes the case for Minnie, who was the first MLB player to cross the color line in Chicago 50 years ago. The symposium included an overview of Minnie career, the sociological impact of Minnie being the pioneering Latin star, and his career statistics that show him deserving of election to the Hall of Fame.
From the 1951 to 1961 seasons, during the Golden Era of baseball, Minoso was on a very short list of best all-around players in the major leagues. In the 11-year period, he ranked second in hits (1,861), extra-base hits (579), total bases (2,879), runs scored (1,078) and triples (81) among American League players. His .305 batting average was fifth overall. A lifetime .298 hitter, he was the rare ball-player who had no weakness, one who could win games in every way possible — at the plate, on the basepaths and in the field.
Many forget that Minnie gets cheated for Hall of Fame consideration because he got a late start in the Majors (age 28 or maybe 30) and that he had two stellar years in the Negro Leagues (New York Cubans) in 1947-48, including being selected to the East-West All-Star games at old Comiskey.
New York Times writer Stuart Miller wrote on November 8 a compelling column “Making the Case for Minnie Minoso” which should be required reading for the 16 member Veteran’s Committee.
Minoso did it all: Hit by a pitch 198 times; seven MLB all star games (plus two East West Negro League All-Star games); and three Gold Gloves (which understates his defensive skills because Rawlings did not start the award until 1957).
During this career retrospective, that included talks by fellow Cuba-born players Tony Perez and Luis Tiant (also on the ballot) as well as Sox teammates, including Sox pitcher Billy Piece (who was passed over to be on the Golden Era ballot but deserves another look by the VC in 2014), there was Minnie himself speaking about his career.
Appearing in front of a White Sox locker that celebrated his career from the New York Cubans, Cleveland Indians, and the White Sox, Minoso confessed, “To be in the Hall of Fame is my last wish in this life.”
Then again, when you’re 85 years old or is it 88 or 91? And your last wish on Earth is in the hands of the 16 members of the Golden Age election committee, it’s not easy to put so many thoughts into words.
Take in account that Minoso blazed the trail with pride and dignity for Latino players much like Jackie Robinson did for African-Americans not long before him a distinction that is Minoso’s and his alone — and any reasonable doubt about his Hall of Fame credentials is erased once and for all.
Minoso deserves at least 12 of the 16 votes from the Veterans’ committee.
Related link: SABR member Rob Neyer at Baseball Nation studies Minnie Minoso’s Hall of Fame credentials (November 9, 2011)
Originally published: December 2, 2011. Last Updated: December 2, 2011.