The Baseball Hall of Fame on Thursday announced the list of candidates on its Golden Era ballot, giving 10 players who made their mark between the years of 1947 and 1972 another shot at the sport's greatest honor. The special ballot will be conducted by the Golden Era Committee, which is basically another version of the Veterans Committee, which seldom could find the compassion in its collective cold, black heart to induct players who didn't make it into the Hall the way they did.
Minnie Minoso is one of them, and the White Sox smartly pounced on the opportunity by unveiling a section on whitesox.com that stumps for his candidacy. There should be a sense of urgency, because Minoso is 88 years old, and he missed his previous last chance when the special one-time Negro Leagues superinduction overlooked him.
There's lots of great stuff on it, like:
- His statistical case, laid out by Ben Jedlovec of Baseball Info Systems and Don Zminda of STATS, Inc.
- His pioneer case, as explained by University of Illinois associate professor Adrian Burgos.
- His character case, written by Robert Emrich.
- Minoso talking about his own career, via an excerpt pulled from Bob Vorvald's book.
But while doing some research, I came across a great group of articles that would fit in this section as well. Back in 2003, MLB.com ran a six-part series as told by Minoso, and they cover some ground that needs to be emphasized.
At least three of these pieces could be added to the site, because it's Minoso talking about the years before he broke into the majors, and that's a big part of his case. Unfortunately, only two of them can be found in full right now. Links below, with a representative sample:
Around 15 or 16, I finally went to Havana for the first time, but didn't get used to the city. I loved the ranch and I wanted to go back. So I did. But, after a while, there was still something on my mind. I wanted to play baseball. I decided I wanted to go back to Havana, but I didn't know how I could tell the people I was staying with. My mother had passed away and my father was living in a different city. I was living with my father's friend.
I came up with a plan. I had Humberto Hernandez, another player, write me a letter saying I was needed in Havana to play baseball. He wrote it and mailed it from Havana so it looked official. One day, while I was working in the fields, the letter came and I read it. "They must be crazy," I said. "Forget it." I wanted it but I pretended I didn't. My father's friend read the letter and told me "You're going to Havana. Put everything down, go get your clothes and get on the bus."
So I left.
To come to the United States I had to sign up for the Cuban army. But since I wasn't 18 years old yet, I did whatever it took. I said, "I don't care how many years you put on me, I want to go to the United States." (The army never called me so) I didn't serve any time in the army.
I don't know how to explain the satisfaction I had when I made the decision to come to the United States from Cuba. Joe Fernandez, who had been one of my managers in Cuba, was now the manager of the New York Cubans. Alejandro Pompez, a big-time businessman was the owner. There were 12 Cubans and 12 Americans on the team. I earned $600-650 dollars for six months and $5 a day for food. I could have made $30,000 in four months in Mexico!
There's one more article that would be of immense value, as it features Minoso talking about how he broke into the big leagues. Alas, there's an error on the page that seems to cut it short. I'll write a letter to my congressman to see if it can be restored.
I'll have another post coming this afternoon with more to consider about Minoso's career, but these links should carry you through the morning.