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Today in White Sox History: November 7

Cuba gets it right — long before Cooperstown

Nat King Cole and ‘Minnie’ Minoso
Minnie Miñoso remained a Winter League star in Cuba until the revolution in 1959. Here, Nat King Cole arrives at Grand Stadium in Havana to congratulate Minnie for his MVP award in 1956.
Bettmann/Getty Images


Long after he played his final game in his home country, Minnie Miñoso was inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame — eight years before the legend found his way into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Given that Miñoso had played his last professional game in Cuba some 55 years earlier, it seems Cuba was just as tardy in honoring one of its greatest players of all time, right?

Not so. After the communist revolution in 1959, there were no official inductions to Cuba’s Hall of Fame; otherwise, Miñoso surely would have been enshrined decades earlier.

Miñoso had started his professional baseball career at age 16 in Cuba’s Serie Nacional. Five years later, he was in the U.S., playing for the New York Cubans of the Negro Leagues, with whom he won his sole World Series. Another four years later, Miñoso made his MLB debut, with Cleveland.

But Miñoso found his greatest fame with the White Sox, and remains No. 12 overall with 41.5 WAR with the club and fifth overall among batters.

Miñoso was part of a class of 10 players inducted in 2014, and he had the good fortune of being alive for the honor. Sadly, with Miñoso’s passing in 2015, Cooperstown was years too late to treat him similarly.