Lester: Minnie Minoso, a hallmark man

From SABR member Larry Lester at The National Pastime Museum on October 9, 2015:

Minnie Minoso was born Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso Arrieta in the sugarcane village of Perico, Matanzas, Cuba. As a juvenile, he was often confused with his older brothers who shared the surname of Minoso, inherited from his mother’s first marriage. ’Nino Armas eventually submitted to constant comparisons to his older ball-playing brothers and proudly adopted the Minoso surname.

Minoso had a hallmark personality, a hallmark smile, and a hallmark career. His uniqueness as an African-Cuban in the Show was perhaps best characterized by Dr. Peter Bjarkman in his book, Baseball with a Latin Beat, as a player with “a flashy style and dramatic flair [that] translated into huge efforts at doing precisely what was needed to win ballgames for his team. He played with reckless abandon aimed always at achieving nothing short of total victory; his was flair with a clear work ethic. He stole bases with a game on the line, harassed pitchers with daring base-running ploys, took extra bases and made impossible wall-crashes catches.”

Discovered by New York Cuban outfielder Claro Duany, Minnie was invited to join the Ambrosia Club, a Cuban semipro club sponsored by a local chocolate factory. Duany wasn’t the only player to see Minoso’s potential. “I rate him No. 1,” said number one pitcher Satchel Paige. “I’ve been around baseball some 23 years and if there’s one thing I know, that’s a ball player when I see one. He’s the fastest. The man’s fast as lightning. He’s a flat-footed hitter, so he can get anything. You have to keep the ball away from him.”

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/minnie-minoso-hallmark-man

Originally published: October 9, 2015. Last Updated: October 9, 2015.