November 2011

A Special Day For Me as Former Major Leaguers and Historians Make Minnie Minoso’s Case for the Hall of Fame

Growing up in the 1950s, I lived and breathed the White Sox and their stars Nellie Fox, Billy Pierce, Luis Aparicio and, of course, Minnie Minoso.

So, it was an honor for me to participate in last week’s “Minnie Minoso Hall of Fame Forum” at the Cell as historians and former major leaguers alike made the case for Minnie’s Hall of Fame candidacy. The group of advocates included former teammates Pierce, Jim Landis and Jungle Jim Rivera plus Hall of Famer Tony Perez and Luis Tiant, who like Minoso will be considered for Hall of Fame election the first week in December by the 16-member Golden Era (1947-72) committee. Both Perez and Tiant, like Minoso natives of Cuba, grew up idolizing the man who would become the firat Black Latino in the major leagues.

Having grown up revering Minoso and now at a point in my life where I can play a small part in trying to help him reach baseball’s highest plateau is very special to me. And it’ll even be more special if I’m in Cooperstown next July celebrating Minnie’s well-deserved induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Note: The photo above shows Minnie and me after the Forum. We are standing in front of the spectacular display of memorabilia the White Sox put together for the event.

Is Minnie Cooperstown Bound?

For all of us who grew up watching him play, there was no doubt in our minds that Minnie Minoso was of Hall of Fame caliber.

Today, it was announced that Minnie is one of 10 prominent baseball figures from the Golden Era (1947-72) who have been placed on the ballot for Hall of Fame consideration. The others are players Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Allie Reynolds, Ron Santo, Luis Tiant and executives Charlie Finley and Buzzie Bavasi.  The results will be revealed at the Baseball Winter Meetings on December 5.

The White Sox have put together a wonderful website making Minnie’s case in words, photos and video. Go to whitesox.com/minnie. You’ll really enjoy it–and for those of you who saw Minnie play, it’ll bring back some great memories.

Here is my favorite description of Minnie, which is on the site. It was written by authors Brendan C. Boyd and Fred Harris. It’s really all you need to know about Minoso:

“Minnie Minoso played the game the way it’s supposed to be played. He did not have the power of a (Mickey) Mantle or the overall talent of a (Willie) Mays, but he sprayed hits to all fields, never swung at a bad pitch, crowded the plate, bunted, stole bases, broke up double plays, made diving catches, and always, but always, hit the cut-off man. He loved to play baseball, was in every minute of every game he ever played and never let up, no matter how one-sided the score. He was what baseball is all about…”

New Faces, New Places

The manager and bench coach are in Miami, the hitting coach is in Atlanta, at last look the third base coach is looking for his next opportunity while the pitching coach, first base coach bullpen coach and bullpen catcher are back in Chicago with a whole new set of personalities.

The further transformation of the White Sox on-field braintrust became official yesterday, which began with Robin Ventura replacing Ozzie Guillen who has moved on to South Beach:

* Mark Parent, a long-time major league backup catcher and, most recently, a minor league manager replaces Joey Cora as the Sox bench coach. Cora has joined Ozzie in the same role with the Marlins.

* Joe McEwing (pictured above), known as “Super Joe” during his major league career for his hustle and enthusiastic brand of play, replaces Jeff Cox as the third base coach. McEwing, a Tony LaRussa favorite when the former played for the latter in St. Louis, managed the Sox AAA club in Charlotte last summer. Cox has not yet landed his next gig.

* Jeff Manto, a former major league journeyman infielder, replaces Greg Walker as hitting coach. Manto has most recently served as the Sox’s minor league hitting instructor and at one time was the hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Walker was just hired as the Braves hitting coach.

* First base coach Harold Baines, pitching coach Don Cooper, bullpen coach Juan Nieves and bullpen catcher Mark Salas are the holdovers from last year’s coaching staff.

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