Minnie Minoso dies; White Sox legend paved way for Latino players


An obituary from the Associated Press.

When Minnie Minoso broke into Major League Baseball, the “Cuban Comet” was part of a wave of black players who changed the game. By the time he played in his final game 35 years ago, he was a beloved figure with the Chicago White Sox.

It was one amazing ride for the seemingly ageless outfielder, who died early Sunday morning of natural causes, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

“I know we’re all going to go at some time, but I had gotten to the point where I really thought Minnie was going to live forever,” White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said. “There has never been a better ambassador for the game or for the White Sox than Minnie.”

Mr. Minoso made his major-league debut just two years after Jackie Robinson and turned into the game’s first black Latino star, helping clear the way for generations of minority ballplayers, including a long list of players from his home country. There is some question about Mr. Minoso’s age, but the medical examiner’s office and the White Sox said he was 90.

Mr. Minoso’s death comes on the heels of the loss of Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, who died Jan. 23 at age 83.

“For Minnie, every day was a reason to smile, and he would want us all to remember him that way, smiling at a ballgame,” Mr. Minoso’s family said in a statement.

Mr. Minoso played 12 of his 17 seasons in Chicago. The White Sox retired his No. 9 in 1983, and there is a statue of him at U.S. Cellular Field.

Mr. Minoso made his major-league debut with Cleveland in 1949 and was dealt to the White Sox in a three-team trade two years later. He became Major League Baseball’s first black player in Chicago on May 1, 1951, and homered in his first plate appearance, against the YankeesVic Raschi.

Mr. Minoso, a Havana native who played mostly in left field, got his final hit in 1976 and went 0-for-2 in two games in 1980 for the White Sox.

Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso Arrieta was selected for nine All-Star Games and won three Gold Gloves in left. He was hit by a pitch 192 times, ninth all time, and finished in the top four in AL MVP voting four times.

Playing in an era dominated by the Yankees, he did not appear in the postseason.

“I have baseball in my blood,” he said. “Baseball is all I’ve ever wanted to do.”

For the original report go to http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Minnie-Minoso-dies-White-Sox-legend-paved-way-6109158.php#photo-7592561

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