‘Mr. White Sox’ Minnie Miñoso’s Hall-of-Fame baseball legacy

Minnie Miñoso’s Hall-of-Fame baseball tradition initially appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

There’s an opportunity this will lastly be the year.

Minnie Miñoso, among the most renowned gamers in the history of the Chicago White Sox, may lastly be chosen to the Hall of Popularity.

If it occurs, when the Golden Days Age Committee thinks about Miñoso’s candidateship on Dec. 5, it will be a jubilant day for those who have long promoted Miñoso’s location amongst baseball’s all-time greats.

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It will likewise be long past due, something those champs state need to have taken place while Miñoso was still alive.

However whether throughout his famous playing profession — which included looks for Negro League, American League and National League groups in 20 various seasons and touched 5 various years — throughout his retirement or after his death in 2015, something is extremely obvious when speaking with those promoting his election: Miñoso’s tradition has actually constantly been Hall-of-Fame quality.

“Minnie was our Jackie Robinson,” previous White Sox pitcher José Contreras stated Monday, speaking through group interpreter Billy Russo as one member of a three-person panel spoke with about Miñoso’s candidateship.

That right there is the most concise — and most effective — method to encapsulate what Miñoso implied to numerous.

Robinson stands as one of the most essential figures not simply in baseball history however in American history, his impact on the video game marked in methods as grand as the retired No. 42 at every major league ballpark and a yearly day of honor throughout the sport.

To hear somebody identified as even a variation of Robinson brings a horrible great deal of weight — and screams “no-brainer” when it pertains to thinking about a Hall-of-Fame case.

“You can never reduce Minnie Miñoso’s career to just baseball,” stated Bob Kendrick, the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. “Minnie Miñoso was the Latino Jackie Robinson, hands down. And what he did in his game is noteworthy and certainly justifies Hall-of-Fame merit. But what he meant for legions of Latino ballplayers, to know that they, too, could have the dream of playing in the major leagues, cannot be understated.”

In baseball, more than any sport or walk of life that honors its legends, a lot focus is put on the analytical. There’s absolutely nothing naturally incorrect with such a method, naturally, and setting one’s requirements for Hall-of-Fame merit based upon on-field production is one method to keep the video game’s most special fraternity, well, special.

However tradition is something that while not as simple to pin down as numbers can really paint a photo of one’s achievements. Because arena, Miñoso is nearly peerless, not simply an incredible ballplayer however “the” ballplayer for among the video game’s earliest franchises, a whole country, a whole area of the world.

“Right now, in Cuba, the access to information is very easy, especially through social media. But at that time, when I was a kid, we didn’t have that access. The information that we got there was limited. But we knew about Minnie,” Contreras stated. “I don’t know exactly how that information got there, but we knew and people used to see (Cuban greats playing in the United States) as heroes, as role models. Everybody wanted to be like them, everybody wanted to be like Minnie.

“If he’s inducted, that’s going to be substantial for Cuba, for the Cuban gamers, for the Cuban nation. He implied and he implies a lot for everyone. He was a trendsetter. … That is something that he truly should have. He requires justice. He requires to be there.”

Look around the game today, and Miñoso’s legacy is everywhere. No aspect of it is more important than the road he paved for the game’s scores of Cuban and Latino stars. But elsewhere, living beyond the back of his baseball card and his Baseball-Reference page, his legacy lives.

Let the kids play? Maybe that means letting the kids play like Miñoso played.

“I ensure a great deal of the young gamers do not even understand it,” said Eduardo Pérez, a former big leaguer, an ESPN broadcaster and the son of Tony Pérez, one of the few Cuban players currently in the Hall of Fame. “A great deal of those gamers have actually discovered it in winter season baseball (played throughout the offseason in Latin American nations). Let’s face it, Minnie not just made his living in the Negro Leagues and Big League Baseball, however he likewise had an impact in Mexico, too, in winter season ball, too. All that zest just continues to encompass all the young Latino players.

“Give a lot of credit to baseball and the way they are allowing these players now to be able to show emotion on the field. The unwritten rules have been swept aside, you can say, and it’s more of the zest. We see Ronald Acuña Jr., what he’s doing. If it’s Juan Soto with the bat. Just the speedsters on the bases, where (Miñoso) was a major asset when he played the game, where there wasn’t a lot of base running. Minnie was stealing those bases, creating havoc.

“I see it so much in these young players, and it’s because the game itself is embracing right now the zest of those players. For years I saw it in winter baseball, playing it, managing it. … Now we’re seeing it more at the major league level. I must admit, it’s fun.”

Don’t get these guys wrong, Miñoso wasn’t just in the right place at the right time. He earned this consideration by what he did on the field, too. Talking about numbers and numbers only obscures the entire scope of his influence, but he was a 13-time All Star, a three-time Gold Glove winner, and that aforementioned Baseball-Reference page is peppered with bold numbers — indicating he was a league leader in various categories over and over again.

Earning the title of “Mr. White Sox,” he was a star on those exciting teams of the 1950s and 1960s that posted 17 consecutive winning seasons and live on in franchise lore.

“Classic leadoff guy,” Kendrick said. “He had Rickey Henderson capabilities, because he did have power, and he had great speed, he had the great arm. He was the quintessential leadoff guy.

“Minnie put the ‘Go’ in Go-Go White Sox. He brought that brash and daring style that was singular to Negro Leagues Baseball. He was this guy, a beautiful ballplayer … who just electrified.”

And Miñoso did it all while weathering many of the same challenges and hardships that, because of his race, Robinson did as he was breaking barriers — all while getting used to a new country, a new culture and a new language.

“I knew Minnie, and I can hear his voice in my head, talking about being called the N-word when he didn’t even know what it meant,” Kendrick said. “Because his skin was as dark as mine, and yet still being able to persevere and still bring such great joy to this game under some of the most challenging sets of circumstances that anyone could ever face playing this game.”

“Minnie came here and he did all the great things, and he could never come back to Cuba. He never could come back to his family,” Contreras said. “I just imagine all the things that Minnie did without his family being there or here with him. And he never had a problem. He was good on and off the field. He fought through all the obstacles put in front of him. He did great. He was a real hero because I cannot imagine doing all the things that he did at that time.”

It was an informative discussion featuring these three advocates, three men who know their baseball, know their history and know what Miñoso meant to so many. The meat of Miñoso’s playing career was so long ago, long enough ago that a large percentage of modern fans have no idea how to evaluate it, outside of those aforementioned numbers, making this perspective essential.

In the end, it was enough to garner just one reaction: How can you not consider Miñoso’s incredible baseball legacy worthy of the Hall of Fame?

“He deserves to be there,” Kendrick said. “It’s that bridge between the Negro Leagues and the great country of Cuba, it’s that bridge that he, like others before, created and laid so that Eduardo and José and others could pursue their major league career. It doesn’t happen without those players.

“It’s only fitting that he takes his proper place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame due to the fact that to me he exhibits whatever a Hall of Famer is expected to be.”

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.