Minnie Miñoso

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Minnie Miñoso [me-NYO-so] (b. November 29, 1922 in Havana [or Matanzas ?], Cuba), born Saturnino Orestes Armas Miñoso Arrieta, is a former star outfielder in Major League Baseball. He had earlier been a standout third baseman in the Negro Leagues, and would later play several seasons in Mexican baseball. He was nicknamed "The Cuban Comet", and in Mexico, "Mr. White --"El Charro Negro". He is one of just two players in major league history to play in five separate decades (1940s-80s), the other being Nick Altrock. With brief appearances with the independent Northern League's St. Paul Saints in 1993 and 2003, Miñoso is the only player to have played professionally in 7 different decades.

Miñoso was signed by the Cleveland Indians as an amateur free agent in 1948. Between 1949 and 1964 he played for the Tribe (1949, 1951, 1958-59), Chicago White Sox (1951-1957, 1960-61, 1964, 1976, 1980), St. Louis Cardinals (1962) and Washington Senators (1963). On May 1, 1951, in a game against the New York Yankees in Comiskey Park, the speedy Miñoso became the first black player to wear a White Sox uniform.

In 1976, after several years playing in Mexico, Miñoso returned to play three games with the White Sox. He picked up one single in eight at bats, becoming the oldest player ever to get a base hit in the major leagues (53); he returned to appear in two more games with the Sox in 1980. His five stints with Chicago cemented his image as a local baseball icon for at least three generations of Chisox fans. When the last game was played at the old Comiskey Park on September 30, 1990, Minoso was invited to present the White Sox lineup card to the umpires in the pregame ceremonies at home plate. He did so while wearing the new uniform debuted by the White Sox that day, his familiar number 9 on the back.

In his major league career, and despite not playing regularly until he was 28, Miñoso hit for a .298 BA, with 186 home runs, 1023 RBI, 1136 runs, 1963 hits, 336 doubles, 83 triples, 205 stolen bases, 814 walks and 192 hit by pitch. His .389 on base percentage and .459 slugging average, combined for a solid .848 OPS, is a clear indication of how valuable a player Miñoso truly was. He is among the players most often identified by people who are asked which player not yet in the Baseball Hall of Fame belongs in it.

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