CHICAGO – This is an honor for both men that was overdue and comes after each has passed away.
But Minnie Minoso and Buck O’Neil are now finally members of the Baseball Hall of Fame after their successful and trailblazing careers in the game.
Known as “Mr. White Sox” and “The Cuban Comet,” Minoso played 12 of his 17 seasons with the White Sox, was elected to nine All-Star teams, won three Gold Gloves, won the 1951 American League Rookie of the Year while playing in five different decades in the majors.
Minoso was also a trailblazer as he was the first Black player from Latine America while breaking the White Sox color barrier when he joined the team in a trade from Cleveland in 1951.
Unfortunately, the legendary player’s election comes six years after his death on March 1, 2015, but the fight to get him in the Hall of Fame continued on for the White Sox along with his family members.
“My husband enjoyed so many relationships within baseball, with the White Sox and with current players,” said Minoso’s wife, Sharon Rice-Miñoso. “He acted like a surrogate father to many players over the years. He loved his countrymen, who they were as people, and their friendships are all a testament to his commitment to how he respected each person he met as an individual regardless of their contributions. I know that’s what he was very proud of creating.
“The White Sox absolutely are family, and Minnie was so proud to wear that uniform every day, to come to the ballpark and to sign autograph after autograph. My family wants to thank Jerry Reinsdorf, all the players who befriended us over the many years, as well as all of the employees who loved my husband and never gave up hope that this day might finally arrive.”
O’Neil made his mark in the Negro Leagues where he was a legendary player and manager for the Kansas City Monarchs. He joined the Cubs as a scout in the 1950s and then became the MLB’s first Black coach in 1962 for the franchise.
In his later years, O’Neil led the effort to create the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, which opened in 1990. He remained involved with it till his death in 2006.
The overdue election of both players was this week’s “Random Hawlight” on WGN News Now that salutes a great moment in Chicago sports every week. You can watch that in the video above.