Minnie Minoso’s “Grand” Return to the White Sox, 1960!

Minnie Minoso’s “Grand” Return to the White Sox, 1960!

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 Minnie Minoso’s “Grand” Return to the White Sox, 1960!

Opening Day at Comiskey Park, April 19, 1960 was a special day in White Sox history. The 1959 American League champions welcomed back fan-favorite Minnie Minoso after a three year exile to Cleveland.  And what a “grand” return it was, as Minnie hit a fourth-inning grand slam and followed that with a ninth-inning walk-off home run to give the Sox a 10-9 victory over the Kansas City Athletics!

Check out the featured photo above. How’s that for a hook slide! The catcher is the Red Sox’ Sammy White. 

Orestes “Minnie” Miñoso was one of the most popular players in White Sox history, helping the “Go-Go” White Sox become one of the premier teams of the 1950s and 1960s. A strong case can be made that Miñoso should be in the Hall of Fame. He played 17 seasons in the majors (1946-1980) for the Indians, White Sox, Cardinals and Senators. Over his career, he hit .298, with 1136 runs, 186 home runs, 1023 RBIs, 205 stolen bases, a .389 on-base percentage, and a .459 slugging average. His 130 OPS+ places well above average among his contemporaries.

Minnie was a seven-time All-Star (appearing in nine games), and a three-time Gold Glove winner. He was the first Black Cuban in the major leagues and the first black player in White Sox history. He began his professional career in 1946 with the Black Cubans, and was later signed by the Cleveland Indians in the wake of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, appearing in nine games in 1949.  

As a 1951 rookie, he hit .326, with 112 runs, 34 doubles, a league-leading 14 triples, 10 home runs, a league-leading 31 stolen bases, .422 on-base percentage, .500 slugging average, and was one of the first Latin Americans to play in the major league All-Star Game.

The “Cuban Comet” batted over .300 eight times. He was the American League leader in triples and stolen bases three times each and in hitsdoubles, and total bases once each. He, along with Willie Mays, has been credited with leading the resurgence of speed as an offensive weapon in the 1950s. He also led the American League in times hit by pitch a record ten times, which contributed to his high career on-base percentage. Miñoso was a defensive standout and led left fielders in assists six times and in putouts and double plays four times each.

The White Sox in the 1950s were known for speed and defense, but Minoso was a rare power threat, holding the White Sox record for career home runs from 1956 to 1974 with 186. After his major league playing career was over in 1964, he went on playing and managing in Mexico through 1973. He rejoined the White Sox as a coach, and made brief but highly publicized player appearances in 1976 and 1980, becoming the third player to get a hit after the age of 50 and the second player to appear in the major leagues in five decades.

Minnie Miñoso’s White Sox uniform #9 was retired in 1983, and a statue of him was unveiled at U.S. Cellular Field in 2004. Miñoso was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in Exile in 1983, and to the Mexican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.

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Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from the Minnie Minoso Wikipedia page.

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I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

2 Comments

  1. Ralph Carhart · July 27, 2017 Reply

    Just wondering what leads you to believe that is Conlon in the photo. He was a National League umpire so it would be unusual if that did turn out to be him.

    • Gary Livacari · July 30, 2017 Reply

      Good catch. Just thought it sort of looked like him, but you’re right…it can’t be him. Thanks.

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