Chicago baseball legend Minnie Minoso dead, trailblazer in racial integration

Sun Mar 1, 2015 4:11pm EST
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By Letitia Stein

(Reuters) - Baseball great Minnie Minoso, the first black major leaguer to play for a Chicago team, died on Sunday at age 90.

Nicknamed the "Cuban Comet," the Chicago White Sox legend was a major figure in the racial integration of Major League Baseball in the 1950s.

Minoso became the first black player on the White Sox when he joined the team in 1951 and became one of its most popular players, nicknamed "Mr. White Sox."

Born in Havana, Cuba, Minoso signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1948, the year after Jackie Robinson broke the major league's color barrier.

Minoso went on to become a seven-time All Star and played 17 seasons in the majors, including 12 for the White Sox, according to the league.

He was the league's first black Latino star, according to historian Adrian Burgos, who wrote in an article on its website that many considered him the Latin American Jackie Robinson.

Minoso was nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame as part of an effort to consider overlooked candidates from the league's so-called Golden Era, but he did not get enough votes.

"Minnie may have been passed over by the Baseball Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but for me and for generations of black and Latino young people, Minnie’s quintessentially American story embodies far more than a plaque ever could," U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement.   Continued...