On his 23rd try at Hall of Fame election, Minnie Miñoso is now enshrined in Cooperstown.
White Sox legend — increasingly described these days as “Mr. White Sox” — Miñoso finally made the Hall of Fame on Sunday night, earning 14 of 16 votes from the Golden Days Era Committee. Miñoso had failed to earn more than 21.1% on any of the previous 15 ballots voted on by the BBWAA writers from 1969 and 1999, and again SEVEN separate times in smaller Hall committee special ballots.
Dick Allen, whose hitting prowess is denied by no one, likewise was shut out by the broad BBWAA voters, never earning more than 18.9% on 14 previous ballots from 1983 and 1997. Allen has now been denied the Hall SEVEN times by the smaller committee ballots.
Receiving just 11 votes of the necessary 12, Allen will wait again for his shot at enshrinement, sometime later this decade.
Both Miñoso and Allen had recently seen an uptick in positive public perception about their careers and thus their perception as Hall-worthy.
Miñoso’s Negro Leagues career now count as official major league stats, pushing his career hit total past 2,000. That acknowledgement also put into perspective Miñoso’s two seasons between Negro League and Major League Baseball spent lighting up the Pacific Coast League, when Cleveland’s “colored quota” kept Minnie in the minors, unfairly. He was already the 1950s’ greatest American League hitter not named Mickey Mantle, and two additional seasons spent in the majors rather than Triple-A would have made him far greater a shoo-in.
For Allen, the recent reckoning not just in baseball but in American society concerning the treatment of Black players sheds additional and different light on the career of a player who to this day is still often tabbed as “troubled,” “moody” or “difficult.” Through a more understanding spectrum in the 2020s, fairer balance is made between the racism Allen fought (particularly at the start of his career, in Philadelphia) and his leadership (supporting teammates in the White Sox clubhouse rather than hazing or condemning them as future Hall-of-Famer Ron Santo did).
From the Golden Days Era ballot, Tony Oliva, Gil Hodges and Jim Kaat were elected with 12 of 16 votes. Oliva and Kaat represent a clear direction change from recent, and embarrassing, committee efforts failing to elect players while still alive (case in point: Miñoso).
White Sox pitching legend Billy Pierce received three or fewer votes, as did longtime Cardinals star and brief White Sox player Ken Boyer.
Kaat had his two greatest WAR seasons come during his only two full years on the South Side, in 1974 and 1975.
Bud Fowler and the beloved Buck O’Neil were elected by the Early Baseball committee, swelling the Cooperstown Class of 2022 already to six.