Happy Minnie Miñoso Day to all who celebrate, which should be all

Regardless of what happens in today’s series finale against the Cleveland Guardians, today is a great day for the White Sox because Minnie Miñoso will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

This is long overdue, and sadly too late for Miñoso to have enjoyed the honor himself, for a whole bunch of reasons and “reasons” that Paul Sullivan chronicled well for the Tribune today.

But as I wrote back in December, he made such a profound impact on the game that millions will be thrilled to see him immortalized.

And first-degree thrilled. Not just happy because he’ll wear a White Sox cap on his plaque, or because he was your parents’ favorite player, which is a lot of how long-overdue inductions go. He remained relevant as a baseball great throughout the course of his life by maintaining his love for the game, those who played it, and those who watched it.

If White Sox fans ever wanted to meet him, there was no shortage of places to find him — at the park, card shows, Slugger’s. You never had to mistake wondering if it was him because he wore a cap (and drove a Cadillac) with his name emblazoned on it.

As numerous great Cuban baseball players defected to the states over the past couple decades, Miñoso made himself available to be met, and in the process, helped establish the White Sox as a home away from Havana.

One thing I’ve enjoyed seeing from this news cycle is the resurfacing of Alexei Ramirez, an underappreciated White Sox who appreciated Miñoso.

“Ever since I met him in 2007, my first year when I came to the U.S., I met him and [Jose] Contreras,” Ramírez said. “We started talking about his time in Cuba and when he moved here, all of the things that he did. Every day he gave me advice about everything. It was every day.” […]

“I’m very happy, very happy to have met Minnie,” Ramírez said. “You know, ever since I came to Chicago, he welcomed me with open arms. His family was the same. They treated me well. And I am very happy for him to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

And when José Abreu came around a half-dozen years later, he had the same story:

“That’s what drives me every day,” Abreu said. “When I’m here, I try to pay my tributes to him. I try to carry my heritage and take the baton he kind of gave me with honor and respect and try to honor him and his name and try to help everybody here, especially the Latino and Cuban guys.

“I just realized right away the kind of man that he was. All of his kindness. How respectful he was. And it’s something that definitely hit you. Then you kind of fall in love with him and his personality.”

He’s your favorite player’s favorite player for so many people, whether your favorite player is Abreu or Orlando Cepeda or Tony Oliva, who is being enshrined alongside Miñoso today. Everybody will know that it would’ve been [x]-hundred percent better were Miñoso speaking for himself at the podium, but the fact that everybody knows it lessens the sting.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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GrinnellSteve

Wonderful tribute, Jim, to a wonderful man. Induction is long overdue. He earned the honor on the field and off.

asinwreck

While I am unhappy the Hall did not welcome Miñoso in his lifetime, today is a great day for baseball. The one happy aspect to the timing of his induction is it comes as his first American League organization plays the one where he became an icon. From Cuba to Cleveland to Chicago to Cooperstown (with several stops along the way) is quite the journey.

I am especially happy for the family and grateful for the many who worked to make this day possible. As are the White Sox, judging by what they sent Jay Jaffe earlier this month:

I’m traveling with limited internet and no TV and am unable to see the proceedings, but I hope all gathered in Cooperstown to honor this great man have a delightful time.

a-t

Love Minnie.

StockroomSnail

About effing time. Minnie was amazing and an incredible baseball and human story that needs to be celebrated forever.