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Monday, December 10, 2007

Card Of the Week 12/10

If you thought I would cool off after last weeks anti-Hall of Fame Voter rant, you're mistaken. I have more than enough material to rant about the Hall of Fame voters at least till the 2008 results are released, and then probably a few weeks after that if recent voting patterns hold true. So on with the Inaugural Class of the real Hall of Fame, reserved for players who have been totally jobbed by the BBWAA and Veteran's Committee cronies. This week's inductee: Orestes "Minnie" Minoso.

Cuban born Minnie was a nine time All Star, three time Gold Glove winner and finished in the top five in the MVP voting four times. He is best known for having a major league at-bat in five different decades, from the 40's to the 80's. He also has the distinction of having played professional baseball in 7 different decades after suiting up for the St. Paul Saints in 1993 and 2003. A Negro league All-Star that helped the New York Cubans win a championship, Minnie broke in with the Indians in 1949 and later integrated the Chicago White Sox. Minnie was robbed of the 1951 AL Rookie of the Year award when he lost 13 votes to 11 to the Yankees' Gil McDougald. He was a key player for the Sox and Indian teams of the 50's that fought the Yankees year in and year out for the AL pennant. He never got to play in the World Series though, as he was with the Sox during the Indians' 1954 pennant season and with the Tribe in '59 when the Sox broke through for a World Series appearance against the Dodgers. Sox Owner Bill Veeck awarded Minnie an AL championship ring anyway due to his service to Chicago. He is also 9th all time in being hit by a pitch with 192, and led the league no less than 10 times in this statistic.

These are all nice statistics and by themselves should merit serious consideration for a Hall of Fame nod. Here's the clincher though. Can anyone out there tell me the first black Latino player in the major leagues after they were integrated in 1947? Well, dayf, you're ranting and raving about how Minnie Minoso got jobbed by the Hall of Fame ballot, so I'm gonna guess... Minnie? Right you are! You guys are so smart! There were lots of Hispanic players in the majors before Minnie, including pitching ace Dolf Luque, but Cuban stars that were the wrong color such as Martin Dihigo were blocked by the despicable 'Gentleman's Agreement'. Minnie was the player to break that barrier which led to an influx of great Latino players in the league. Clemente, Aparicio, Marichal, Cepeda, Carew, Perez, Concepcion, Martinez, Big Papi, Santana, Pujols... Minnie was the first. Larry Doby is a legitimate Hall of Famer, can we all agree on that? Well, compare Larry's career statistics to Minnie's. Pretty similar, right? Minoso had a little more speed, Doby a bit more power. Both had productive years in the Negro leagues before they were allowed to play in the majors and both broke a significant barrier. I'm not asking to induct Chico Carrasquel (although he was a fine player). Minnie has the stats, the historical significance and the fame to be a no brainer Hall of Famer.

If Buck O'Neil is #1 on my list for inexplicable snubs by a Hall of Fame Committee, Minnie is #1a. Minoso was part of the special ballot a couple of years ago that elected Effa Manley to the Hall of Fame, but not Buck or Minnie. I remember waiting for the results of that ballot, certain that at least Buck and Minnie would get in and then, wham, neither of them did. I didn't understand it then and I sure don't understand it now. Minnie might be still be on the Veteran's ballot, but with all the cockeyed changes that have happened to those ballots the past few years, who knows. I can't even tell when the hell the next player's ballot is up for election. If he's not on the ballot for some reason, then he should make another comeback and DH for the White Sox next year just so he can get back on the BBWA ballot. The Sox could use a good hitter to spell Thome from time to time, why not Minnie? Let's hope the Vets do the right thing and elect Minnie on the next ballot instead.

1 comment:

Steve Gierman said...

Great choice for card of the week! I couldn't have ranted about the subject any better.

Minnie was actually set to DH in 1993 for the White Sox so he could extend his major league decade record. The Sox were in a pennant race and the players vetoed the publicity stunt.