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Minnie Minoso, Buck O’Neil elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

“Mr. White Sox” led the way in voting from the Golden Days Era committee. Negro Leaguer and former Cubs coach Buck O’Neil also is elected to the Hall.

Minnie Minoso has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Minnie Minoso has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Ted S. Warren/AP

Minnie Minoso, baseball’s first Black Latino star and one of the most exciting players in White Sox history, is a Hall of Famer.

A trailblazer known as “Mr. White Sox” and the “Cuban Comet,” Minoso, who died in 2015, was elected Sunday along with former Sox pitcher Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva and Gil Hodges by the Golden Days Era committee.

Bud Fowler and Buck O’Neil — a Negro League legend and former coach with the Cubs — were elected by the Early Baseball Era committee, which considered a 10-person ballot of candidates whose primary contributions to the game came before 1950. O’Neil was named on 13 ballots.

Twelve votes (75%) were needed to get in, and Minoso appeared on 14 Golden Days Era ballots, with Hodges, Kaat and Oliva getting 12 each. Former Sox first baseman Dick Allen fell one shy with 11 votes.

Minoso was a nine-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner as an outfielder (he also played third base) in 17 seasons and 1,835 career games with the Indians, Sox, Cardinals and Senators. He led the American League in triples and stolen bases three times and finished his career with 2,110 hits and a .299 batting average. Minoso also played three seasons in the Negro Leagues.

“This tremendous honor would have meant a great deal to my dad, and it means a great deal to us,” Minoso’s son, Charlie Rice-Minoso, said. “My dad lived the American Dream. He was able to open doors and break barriers all while doing what he loved, fulfilling his lifelong dream of being a major-league baseball player. He devoted his life to baseball, to all the fans, to the community and to Chicago, which he loved. He was so proud to be Black, to be Cuban, to be an American and to be a professional baseball player for the Chicago White Sox. He also would have been so very proud to be a Hall of Famer.”

O’Neil, a two-time Negro League All-Star and one of the game’s most beloved figures, became the first Black coach in AL or National League history in 1962 with the Cubs. He played, managed, coached and scouted for nearly eight decades.

A three-time All-Star and 16-time Gold Glove winner, Kaat pitched for 25 seasons with the Senators, Twins, Sox (1973-75), Phillies, Yankees and Cardinals, winning 283 games.

Billy Pierce, Roger Maris, Maury Wills, Ken Boyer and manager Danny Murtaugh also were considered by the Golden Days Era committee, whose candidates’ primary contributions to the game came from 1950 to 1969. The committee was made up of Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Ferguson Jenkins, Mike Schmidt, John Schuerholz, Bud Selig, Ozzie Smith and Joe Torre; major-league executives Al Avila, Bill DeWitt, Ken Kendrick, Kim Ng and Tony Reagins; and veteran media members/historians Adrian Burgos Jr., Steve Hirdt, Jaime Jarrin and Jack O’Connell.

Minoso, whose No. 9 jersey was retired by the Sox in 1983, received the most support.

“Today’s announcement is a terrific, well-deserved and long-overdue honor for Minnie Minoso and the Minoso family,” Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. “While bittersweet because of his passing in 2015, Hall of Fame induction is the fitting capstone to Minnie’s amazing career in baseball, a career that started in segregation and ultimately led to Cooperstown. Trailblazer among Afro-Latinos and Cubans, five-tool dynamo on the baseball diamond, ‘Mr. White Sox,’ ambassador for baseball and the Chicago White Sox, teammate and friend, any description of his career now ends with the words ‘Hall of Famer.’ While we all wish he could be here to celebrate with us now, as well as next July, I know our friend is smiling broadly tonight.”

The Golden Days Era and Early Baseball Era committees held meetings Sunday in Orlando, Florida.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is slated for July 24, 2022, in Cooperstown, New York. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America election results will be announced Jan. 25.