Bill Veeck began his second round of ownership of the White Sox in underwhelming fashion, as Spring Training opened in Sarasota with just non-roster players due to an ongoing owners’ lockout.
Saturnino Orestes Armas Miñoso Arrieta aka The Cuban Comet aka Mr. White Sox best known as Minnie, died in Chicago, of a torn pulmonary artery. Depending on whether you believe Minnie or the official records, he was either 92 or 89 years old.
Miñoso was a seven-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, and also a Negro League World Series winner with the 1947 New York Cubans. In the majors, he starred for Cleveland but is best associated with the Go-Go White Sox, of which he was the heartbeat.
He was a true five-tool player, and was revered by Cubans as their “Jackie Robinson” for his groundbreaking role in integrating the major leagues for Latin players. Players such as Roberto Clemente, Tony Pérez and future Sox coach Orlando Cepeda sung his praises.
Although his active MLB career effectively ended relatively “young” (at 38, with his last year as a healthy regular at 35), Miñoso proved to have amazing longevity, managing in the Mexican League throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, playing 353 games — basically three full seasons — for the Union Laguna Algodoneros from age 45-47. He saw MLB action for the White Sox again at age 50 in 1976 and age 54 in 1980.
In retirement, Miñoso remained a beloved member of the White Sox family and worked tirelessly in White Sox PR and with charities for the final four decades of his life.
Though the honor came too late for him to appreciate it, in 2021 Minnie was voted by Veterans Committee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, after nearly two dozen previous tries.