Minoso family on Hall of Fame: 'I know Minnie would have cried'

  • Charlie Rice-Minoso, son of White Sox Hall of Famer Minnie Minoso, said Monday of waiting to hear if his dad made the Hall of Fame: "Throughout the whole process we've been very cautiously optimistic."

    Charlie Rice-Minoso, son of White Sox Hall of Famer Minnie Minoso, said Monday of waiting to hear if his dad made the Hall of Fame: "Throughout the whole process we've been very cautiously optimistic." ZOOM VIDEO CAPTURE

  • Sharon Rice-Minoso, wife of the late Minnie Minoso, said Minnie never complained about not being in the Hall of Fame, and would have been "surprised and honored" to be selected Sunday.

    Sharon Rice-Minoso, wife of the late Minnie Minoso, said Minnie never complained about not being in the Hall of Fame, and would have been "surprised and honored" to be selected Sunday. ZOOM VIDEO CAPTURE

 
 
Updated 12/6/2021 5:15 PM

When the call from Cooperstown finally came Sunday night, Minnie Minoso was not around to answer.

The former White Sox great passed away in 2015 at 90, but family members were able to pick up the phone and celebrate the long overdue news: Minoso is a Hall of Famer.

 

"When the call came through, I was in tears before the sentence was really uttered," said Charlie Rice-Minoso, Minnie's son. "Just sort of recognizing what that call meant, I just felt very proud of what he had done. I felt proud of my father."

Even though he batted .299/.387/.461 and had 2,110 hits, 365 doubles, 95 triples, 195 home runs and 216 stolen bases over a 20-year career that began in 1946 in the Negro National League and included 12 seasons with the White Sox, Minoso never got enough votes to make it to the Hall of Fame.

That finally changed Sunday, thanks to the Golden Days Era committee. Along with Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva -- and Early Baseball Era inductees Bud Fowler and Buck O'Neil -- Minoso is a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2022.

"I think he would have been surprised and honored," said Minoso's wife, Sharon Rice-Minoso. "Minnie was very humble when it came to something like this. Honestly, I know Minnie would have cried. He was a sentimental guy and very humble and never felt he deserved special recognition."

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Known as "The Cuban Comet" and "Mr. White Sox" and a constant presence at Sox games in his role as team ambassador after his playing days ended, Minoso was born Nov. 29, 1925, in La Habana, Cuba.

On May 1, 1951, Minoso became the first Black player in White Sox history. He also became baseball's first Black Latin star.

"I think when my dad would have heard the news, the immediate phrase he probably would have said: 'Ay dios mio, holy Jesus!'" his son said. "I think he would have said, 'Thank you my friend for this news.' He was a humble guy from a ranch in Cuba and he went on to accomplish some amazing things. We're just very grateful for his legacy to live on."

It's unfortunate Minoso is entering the Hall of Fame posthumously, but Sharon Rice-Minoso said her husband never complained about being shut out of Cooperstown when he was alive.

"Truthfully, he took it very well," she said. "He was so close a number of times. It was kind of like, 'Well, they must not have thought it was my turn,' which was very admirable of him. He never had bad feelings. He never felt he was shorted. 'It just wasn't my turn,' but I'm sure he would have been happy this time around."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The White Sox retired Minoso's uniform No. 9 in 1983 and unveiled a statue of the outfielder/third baseman at Guaranteed Rate Field in 2004.

"I feel like throughout the whole process we've been very cautiously optimistic," Charlie Rice-Minoso said. "That's the best way to describe it because each time that dad has been up and for whatever reason, as mom said, it wasn't his time or it wasn't his moment. It definitely impacted the emotions to some level, it's recognizing his contributions are worthy of Cooperstown, but we might be a tad biased.

"However, this time was just a bit different because it was the first time to go through the motions without him. So we're still trying to process exactly what this means and how we can honor dad in this way with him not being physically with us."

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