Minoso denied, and this better not be the reason why

A feature in The Sporting News from 1962 also oversimplifies Minoso.

Like every other Cooperstown snubbing he's suffered, Minnie Minoso took Monday's Golden Era ballot rejection in stride, saying, "Even it hurts on the inside, I will always be smiling on the outside."

But that's part of the problem! At least if I can understand Dan McGrath's point correctly, anyway.

I linked to his column on NYTimes.com on Sunday, where I noted I was thrown off by the end of it. He'd spent the first 85 percent of his column building Minoso's case, but dismissed it with his last sentence because of this:

Bill Veeck owned the Indians when they signed Minoso in ’48. He brought him back to Chicago in 1960, after buying the White Sox, one of several dubious trades that mortgaged the future of the ’59 pennant winners. Veeck loved Minnie, but using him as a prop in some of his stunts, like pinch-hitting him as a 54-year-old (or a 58-year-old) in 1980, no doubt diminishes his ballplayer bona fides.

Can you imagine the fierce warrior Jackie Robinson or the defiantly proud Roberto Clemente going along with such a gag? But that was Minoso, almost childlike in his love for the game.

Cooperstown? I’m not seeing it, and I’m sorry to say it.

I re-read these paragraphs several times in an attempt to fully comprehend this twist, and every pass turned an increasing amount of my confusion into disgust.

Specifically, this part:

Can you imagine the fierce warrior Jackie Robinson or the defiantly proud Roberto Clemente going along with such a gag? But that was Minoso, almost childlike in his love for the game.

Let's list everything that's wrong with this.

No. 1: Where is it stated that one minority ballplayer is required to act like others, besides The Handbook to The 1950s?

No. 2: Jackie Robinson was hired as a draw when he was the GM for the "Brooklyn Dodgers" of the ill-fated Continental Football League, as Larry noted. Willie Mays was a greeter at a casino. Hell, so was Mickey Mantle, if you want to eliminate the race component. Back then, it wasn't unusual for famous players across all skin colors and sports to do unusual things to stay in the limelight after their athletic careers ended.

No. 3: Clemente doesn't have any of these "blemishes" on his legacy, mostly because he died in a plane crash at age 38. It's pretty difficult to compare Minoso's after-career to a guy who never had one.

No. 4: Wait, how did Clemente even get involved? I can just barely understand bringing Robinson into the equation -- pioneer peers and all -- but what's the point of bringing up a player for whom Minoso blazed a trail?

This wouldn't be the first time a comparison to Clemente hasn't benefited Minoso, though. Clemente stands out for being himself and expressing the full range of human emotions when the mostly white press only wanted to see a couple. Throw in his humanitarian efforts -- including the one that claimed his life -- and it's easy to see why his legacy looms large, and why Ozzie Guillen calls him "the Jackie Robinson of Latin baseball."

But when Minoso broke into the majors, he was basically on his own. Clemente used the word "double minority" to describe the black Latino ballplayer, due to color and language barriers. In his biography, Orlando Cepeda recognized Minoso's efforts:

Believe me when I say that Minnie Minoso is to Latin ballplayers what Jackie Robinson is to black ballplayers. As much as I loved Roberto Clemente and cherish his memory, Minnie is the one who made it possible for all of us Latins. Before Roberto Clemente, before Vic Power, before Orlando Cepeda, there was Minnie Minoso. Younger players should know this and offer their thanks. He was the first Latin player to become a superstar.

If you read about the initial discussions between Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson, the focus isn't on Robinson's ballplaying ability, but rather his ability to handle the massive amount of garbage that would come his way. Minoso faced those challenges. He succeeded immensely, and in the process, he gave the next generation of Latin ballplayers, including Clemente, a strong foundation to improve upon.

Sadly, neither Robinson nor Clemente lived long enough to see Minoso return to the White Sox in 1976 and 1980, although McGrath somehow knows how disappointed they would be. That's a helluva trick.

Minoso's legacy is a rich one. It also has a quirk that should be awesome at best and innocuous at worst. Alas, it can apparently be twisted into some kind of shaming device.

Which reminds me...

No. 5: If I'm reading it right, McGrath is essentially punishing Minoso for liking baseball. This'll teach him.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join South Side Sox

You must be a member of South Side Sox to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at South Side Sox. You should read them.

Join South Side Sox

You must be a member of South Side Sox to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at South Side Sox. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker