Minnie Minoso, Chicago’s first Major League Baseball’s star died last Sunday at the age of 90. A native of Cuba, Minoso was also the MLB’s first Latino star, paving the way for other Black-Latino greats such as Roberto Clemente, Juan Marichal, David Ortiz, and Pedro Martinez.
Saturnino Orestes Armas Miñoso Arrieta was born November 29, 1925 in Perico, Cuba. Minoso grew up playing baseball with his brothers, moving to Havana with his sister in 1941. Baseball has long been a huge sport in Cuba, and Minoso joined the Cuban Leagues as a third baseman in 1945 earning $145 per month. A move to the Negro League’s New York Cubans squad doubled his salary.
Minoso made his MLB debut in 1949 for the Cleveland Indians, two years after Jackie Robinson shattered the color barrier. This also made Minoso the first Black Cuban to play in the MLB. In 1951, Minoso was traded to the Chicago White Sox and hit a home run in his first at-bat.
Minoso, nicknamed the “Cuban Comet” and “Mr. White Sox,” became an instant star. But while he was beloved by fans and many on the White Sox squad, racism and segregation were still the order of the day. While on the road, Minoso often had to stay in hotels away from the rest of his teammates and endured taunts and ridicule. Even though his English was poor, he understood racism.