CHICAGO (AP) — Major league baseball's first black player in Chicago, Minnie Minoso, has died.
The Cook County medical examiner confirmed his death Sunday morning. Minoso homered in his first Chicago at-bat in 1951. There is some question about his age but the White Sox say he was 90.
Minoso played 12 of his 17 seasons in Chicago, hitting .304 with 135 homers and 808 RBIs for the White Sox. The White Sox retired his No. 9 in 1983 and there is a statue of Minoso at U.S. Cellular Field.
Minoso made his major league debut with Cleveland in 1949 and was dealt to Chicago in a three-team trade two years later. He made his White Sox debut on May 1, 1951, and homered in his first plate appearance against Yankees right-hander Vic Raschi.
The family of Minoso released a statement Sunday which read:
Our entire family appreciates the kind expressions of concern, sympathy and compassion from so many of our friends and fans of the White Sox during this most difficult time. Minnie lived a full life of joy and happiness, surrounded always by friends and family. It is during moments like these that love matters most. Minnie enjoyed nothing more than to be at the ballpark cheering on his White Sox. For Minnie, every day was a reason to smile, and he would want us all to remember him that way, smiling at a ballgame. As he so often said, “God Bless you, my friends.”Thank you for respecting our family and our privacy during this trying time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.