FanShot

Albert Pujols and the Plight of Latino Baseball Players

Allen Barra writes about Pujols mainly, but highlights our own Minnie Minoso. More at the link, great article: Here's a thumbnail sketch: there is some dispute about Minnie's actual age, so we'll go with BaseballReference.com on this. In 1951, when he was officially a rookie, he was 25 years old and had already lost about three years of his prime. Playing for the White Sox, he made a spectacular bid, for Rookie of the Year. He hit .326 with ten home runs, 76 RBIs, and 112 runs scored. Gil McDougald of the Yankees hit .306 with 14 home runs, 63 RBIs, and 72 runs. Minnie led the AL in stolen bases with 31 (McDougald had 14) and triples with 14 (Gil had four). Minoso had an on-base percentage of .422 and a slugging average of .500; McDougald was, respectively, .396 and .488. McDougald won. Minoso's 1951 season was a red flag to Latin players that they would have to do better than non-Latin players just to be noticed, and far better if they wanted to win awards. Minnie Minoso was a far superior player than many white players who are in the Hall of Fame; he is also better than a few non-Latin black players who are in the Hall. Doby and Enos Slaughter were, for the most part, Minoso's contemporaries, and both, finally, were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Minoso, though his numbers were in every way better than Doby's or Slaughter's, has never made it. He is no longer even considered a serious contender. He was a terrific outfielder and a scrappy player whose nickname was "The Cuban Comet." He never hesitated to take one for the team: he lead the AL in getting hit by pitches an eye-popping ten times. I'd take him over the Boston Red Sox's slugger Jim Rice, who made it into the Hall two years ago, in a heartbeat.

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