CHICAGO – The late Chicago White Sox legend Minnie Miñoso, a seven-time Major League Baseball and two-time Negro Leagues All-Star who broke the organization’s color barrier as the first Black Hispanic player in 1951, has earned election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Golden Days Era Committee.
Miñoso, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva join Bud Fowler and Buck O’Neil of the Early Baseball Era as the first announced members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2022, with the induction ceremonies to be held Sunday, July 24 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
“This tremendous honor would have meant a great deal to my dad, and it means a great deal to us,” Miñoso’s son Charlie Rice-Miñoso said. “My dad lived the American Dream. He was able to open doors and break barriers all while doing what he loved, fulfilling his life-long dream of being a major league baseball player. He devoted his life to baseball, to all the fans, to the community and to Chicago, which he loved. He was so proud to be Black, to be a Cuban, to be an American and to be a professional baseball player for the Chicago White Sox. He also would have been so very proud to be a Hall of Famer.”
Miñoso, received 87.5 percent (14 of 16 possible votes), eclipsing the required 75 percent needed to earn enshrinement in the Class of 2022.
Miñoso joins Luis Aparicio (1984), Luke Appling (1964), Harold Baines (2019), Eddie Collins (1939), Charles Comiskey (1939), Red Faber (1964), Carlton Fisk (2000), Nellie Fox (1997), Al Lopez (1977), Ted Lyons (1955), Ray Schalk (1955), Frank Thomas (2014), Bill Veeck (1991), Ed Walsh (1946) and Hoyt Wilhelm (1985) as the 16th person in franchise history elected to the Hall of Fame (with the White Sox serving as each of the aforementioned players’ “primary” team, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame).
“Today’s announcement is a terrific, well-deserved and long overdue honor for Minnie Miñoso and the Miñoso family,” said Jerry Reinsdorf, White Sox chairman. “While bittersweet because of his passing in 2015, Hall of Fame induction is the fitting capstone to Minnie’s amazing career in baseball, a career that started in segregation and ultimately led to Cooperstown. Trailblazer among Afro-Latinos and Cubans, five-tool dynamo on the baseball diamond, ‘Mr. White Sox,’ ambassador for baseball and the Chicago White Sox, teammate and friend, any description of his career now ends with the words, ‘Hall of Famer.’ How right and how appropriate for someone who loved the game of baseball with every breath he took. While we all wish he could be here to celebrate with us now, as well as next July, I know our friend is smiling broadly tonight.”
Miñoso played 17 seasons in the major leagues, including 12 with the White Sox, and is one of just two players in major-league history (also Nick Altrock) to appear in a game in five different decades. He was selected to nine American League All-Star Teams, won three Rawlings Gold Glove Awards®, was named the 1951 Sporting News Rookie of the Year and finished in the top four of the AL Most Valuable Player voting four times.
In 11 seasons as a full-time player from 1951-61, Miñoso ranked among the AL leaders in hits (2nd, 1,861), runs scored (2nd, 1,078), total bases (2nd, 2,879), extra-base hits (2nd, 579), times on base (2nd, 2,806), stolen bases (2nd, 193), triples (2nd, 81), WAR (2nd, 54.6), runs created (2nd, 1,145), WPA (3rd, 39.5), OBP (4th, .395) and batting average (5th, .305).
Often referred to as the “Cuban Comet,” Miñoso was born in La Habana, Cuba, and made his major-league debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1949 after spending time with the New York Cubans in the Negro National League from 1946-48. Playing a key role in baseball’s early integration, he was the eighth Black player to appear in the major leagues, and only the fifth Black player to play in the AL, after pioneers Larry Doby, Hank Thompson, Willard Brown and Satchel Paige. Doby, Brown and Paige are all members of the Hall of Fame. Miñoso was traded to the White Sox during the 1951 season and hit a two-run home run in his first at-bat with the Sox on May 1.
With the elevation of Negro Leagues stats to “Major League” status, Miñoso’s career numbers now stand at 2,110 hits, 1,946 games played, 195 home runs, 216 stolen bases and a .299 batting average, levels reached by only six other players in MLB history.
Miñoso is viewed as the trailblazer, like Jackie Robinson, for a wave of Afro-Latin American and Cuban talent.
“My husband enjoyed so many relationships within baseball, with the White Sox and with current players,” explained Miñoso’s wife Sharon Rice-Miñoso. “He acted like a surrogate father to many players over the years. He loved his countrymen, who they were as people, and their friendships are all a testament to his commitment to how he respected each person he met as an individual regardless of their contributions. I know that’s what he was very proud of creating. The White Sox absolutely are family, and Minnie was so proud to wear that uniform every day, to come to the ballpark and to sign autograph after autograph. My family wants to thank Jerry Reinsdorf, all the players who befriended us over the many years, as well as all of the employees who loved my husband and never gave up hope that this day might finally arrive.”
“The most important thing in my life is the fans,” Miñoso explained before he passed away on March 1, 2015. “To receive a smile and pay them back with a smile.”
The White Sox retired Miñoso’s No. 9 jersey in 1983. He was elected to the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002, and two years later, the team unveiled a statue of him in his iconic batting stance at Guaranteed Rate Field (then U.S. Cellular Field) in 2004. Miñoso is survived by his wife of 30 years, Sharon, sons Orestes Jr. and Charlie and daughters Marilyn and Cecilia.
“When I die, I want to be playing baseball,” Miñoso once said. “Truly. They don’t bury me without my uniform. If I die, I die happy because I was wearing No. 9 for the White Sox.”
Fans interested in photos, videos and stories about Miñoso’s career with the White Sox can visit a website created by the team and MLB.com at whitesox.com/Minnie.
Additional members of the Class of 2022, elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, are scheduled to be announced on Friday, January 25. More information is available at baseballhall.org.