White Sox Pioneer Remembered

“No. 9,” the Chicago White Sox’s Minnie Minoso, died on Sunday, March 1.  With fellow Chicago baseball veteran Ernie Banks (who also passed away earlier this year), the 89-year-old ex-outfielder was one of the last living players from the integration era of Major League Baseball.  As a player for the New York Cubans, he signed with the Cleveland MLB club in 1948.  It was with the White Sox organization, however, that he enjoyed the great majority of his career honors and achievements.  The team, then owned by Grace Comiskey, traded for Minoso in April 1951; he was the club’s first black player.  Minoso’s sensational 1951 season, in which he barely missed Rookie of the Year honors, was followed by continued high-level play through the 1950s.  Selected to nine All-Star teams, Minoso was awarded a Gold Glove three times.      

Called “Mr. White Sox,” Minoso continued to enjoy lifelong ties with South Side baseball fans, the club, and the club’s owners, especially the Bill Veeck family.  Mutual ties between the Veecks, the White Sox, and Minoso led to the ageless left fielder briefly putting on a baseball uniform again for diamond play in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.  He is believed to be the only player in baseball history to have been penciled into lineups that took the field in seven separate decades.     

A statue of Minoso was erected at U.S. Cellular Field in September 2004.  Rep. Patti Bellock sponsored HR 227 to honor Minoso; the resolution was introduced on Tuesday, March 3.