Least Understood Candidate: Minnie Minoso

10 years 7 months ago #378 by Phillies Archivist
The least appreciated candidate of the last few years has been Minnie Minoso. His supporters for HOF honors call him "The Jaclie Robinson Of Black Latinos" and I have to agree with that assessment. What percentage of MLB players are Black Latino or of mixed Black and Latino heritage today. It's quite a sizable segment. There were no Black Latinos prior to Minoso. Players had to be white (spanish or Hispanic possibly mixed with Native american (Indian ) blood, but i a player was dark beyond a certain hue, that would not be tolerated and the only way he could come to America would be to play in the Negro Leagues. Minoso was the one who broke down that barrier between 1949 and 1951, making his MLB debut in '49 and having his first outstanding season and making the American League All-Star team in '51.Minoso came to the majors somewhere between his mid and late 20s since his MLB debut had been delayed a few years by the lingering Color Barrier. When he finally got his chance he had 11 pretty sensational years between 1951 and 1961.He had very little emotional support on this journey due to the fact that he had only a few Latino teammates during these years. And while many younger people assume that Roberto Clemente was the firs Latino star, Minoso had actually been elected to play in four all-star games (1951-1954) before Clemente even saw his first MLB pitch when the 1955 season opened.Not only was Minoso rejected again by the Veterans Committee less than two months ago, but he was also rejected in 2006 by a special election committee on the Negro Leagues. The voters cited thast Minoso's time in the Negro leagues (1945-1948) was not sufficient to qualify him for the HOF as a Negro Leaguer. This was a very narrow viewpoint. That same committee could have taken a broad view and considered what type of player Minoso had been in all the phases of his career - in Cuba, in the Negro Leagues and in the Major Leagues. If they had done that they would have seen that Minoso had been an all-star and excelled at each level. He was among the finest Cuban players in the early and mid 1940s or he would never have been invited to play for the New York Cubans in the Negro Leagues. He went on to be a two-time Negro Leagues all-star and a seven-time major league all-star. He also was a catalyst at the top of the batting order who led his New York Cubans to the 1947 Negro Leagues championship as they triumphed over the Cleveland Buckeyes in the '47 Negro Leagues World Series.Minoso was a racial and ethnic pioneer. The first black latino to reach the majors and the first of that category to become a star. Why his accomplishments beyond mere baseball statistics, particularly in the area of being a racial pioneer and opening the floodgates for Latino players to succeed in America, haven't been given more credit by electors judging him today, is something I simply don't understand. Sadly, under the revised Veterans Committee rules Minoso doesn't even get another crack at the HOF for three years until Dec. 2013 for the HOF Class of 2014. Minoso's actual age is a mystery. Suffice it to say that he is somewhere between 86 and 89. Hopefully, he'll still be around to witness that next election. From Ron Santo's election one year after his death, I've learned that being elected posthumously is a very bittersweet thing.-Dennis Orlandini (Phillies Archivist)-

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10 years 7 months ago #380 by Knuckles
Glad you made it here, Dennis. Welcome aboard.Minoso is well-deserving. No question.

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