In an utterly shocking and embarrassing move, despite going wire-to-wire in first place and sweeping to a World Series title White Sox GM Ken Williams did not win Executive of the Year from The Sporting News. Instead, Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro took home the honors.
It’s noteworthy that not only did Cleveland finish in second place in the AL Central, six games behind Chicago, but a White Sox sweep on the season’s final weekend eliminated their rivals from playoff contention entirely.
The award was not given to Shapiro for his club’s massive jump in the standings from 2004 to 2005, either, as Cleveland improved by 13 wins in 2005 — but the White Sox jumped ahead 16.
Williams’ work in piecing together a 99-win team that lost just one playoff game en route to a title after leading the AL Central from wire to wire was nothing short of masterful. To wit, seven players brought in by trade or free agency for their first full seasons in Chicago in 2005 combined to provide 18.4 WAR toward the title season — the very definition of brilliant executive work.
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.