When you write a post or an article, you sometimes do it without realizing the true legend you are writing about. It is a name you may have heard or recognized, but do not completely make the connection of who they are as a person, not just an athlete. As the Chicago South Loop Hotel, we do have strong roots to the South Side, and of course our amazing Chicago White Sox. Loving a team and it’s players is one thing, but understanding the history of some of the legends that were part of its history is a part often missed. Saturday, a man who should have been inducted into the Hall of Fame years ago, a Chicago icon and trailblazer, Minnie Minoso was laid to rest.
Born in Cuba, Minoso was raised on the values of hard work to have the basics one needs to survive and provide for their loved ones. He may not have grown up with much in terms of materialistic items, but was raised in a loving and caring family, working right by his fathers side in the fields each day. His passion for baseball began in the sugar fields he worked in, with each sugar field having their own team. That is where a young, poor Cuban boy with no electricity, no radio, and even without a baseball glove, followed his passion and his heart to become a name that will always be a huge part in the history of not just the White Sox but Major League Baseball.
Opening the door and a path for Cubans to come to America and pursue their dream in the MLB, Minoso was the first black Latino to play for the Chicago White Sox. The distinction is not often made that Minoso was faced with the racism from being biracial. But through it all, his spirit was never broken and he continued to play with a smile on his face. In 1951 Minoso stepped up to the plate for his first time up to bat here on the South Side, and hit a homer. That first home run was just 1 of the 186 throughout his career. In the 1950’s there were two players who had 100 HR and 100 SB while still hitting .300, Willie Mays who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979, and our beloved “Mr. White Sox.” While this was said to weigh heavy on Minoso until his last days, he was still a man who at the end of the day would just smile. He may have not made the Hall of Fame, but to fans of the sport, and the many people he touched and mentored in his lifetime, he is greater than most of the people who have their pictures hanging on the walls in Cooperstown.
From the Chicago South Loop Hotel, our hearts, prayers, and condolences go out to the family and friends of the late and great Minnie Minoso. As a true Chicagoan though, we know that to truly honor a hero and a person of Minnie’s caliber, is to remember the man underneath the jersey. The man who had two major passions, playing ball and making sure he went through life smiling. So on that we leave you with a quote that will help you remember the person he was:
“The most important thing in my life? The fans. To have a smile, and pay them back with a smile.” – Minnie Minoso