As you know by now Minnie Minoso died Sunday at the age of 90 (or thereabouts). He has this wonderful 1959 Topps card and I posted it in March of 2012 for my '59 Topps blog. He was a pretty amazing guy and if you were not familiar with his story you should be now with all the tributes that have cropped up since the word of his death came out.
Here is part of my blog post for that card.
Minnie Minoso was born 'Saturnino Orestes Armas Miñoso Arrieta' in Havana, Cuba in 1925. That's one name for each decade he played in the majors. Yes, Minoso played big league ball in the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's. Or at least he made appearances in those decades. The 'playing' he did in 1976 and 1980 with the White Sox was really just PR, a couple of 'cup of coffee' whirls that got headlines when they happened. And add to this time spent in the independent Northern League in the following two decades makes Minoso the only guy to have played professionally in seven decades! (I played intramural softball in four decades at the University of Houston but that's a different discussion.)He played in the first game MLB I ever saw in person. He had a single and scored a run to help Billy Pierce beat the Yankees.
The five (or seven) decade hype kind of overshadows a pretty accomplished major league career put together by Minoso. Following a run as a Negro League player in the late forties Minoso debuted with the Indians in 1949. For the next dozen years, covering two separate tours with both the White Sox and Indians, Minoso led the AL at least once in triples, doubles, hits, stolen bases, total bases and hit-by-pitches. He made seven All Star squads and routinely garnered MVP votes. Three Gold Gloves line his mantel as well.
His days as a regular player ended with stints with the Cardinals and Senators in the early 60's. But Minoso wasn't through as he played several seasons in Mexico after that. Then came the publicity tours with the Sox and independent ball. Crazy.
I have a couple of other Minoso cards. The '61 is one of my favorites.
Minnie Minoso was up for election to the Hall of Fame again this past year by the Veterans Committee but his vote total fell short. If you are like me and believe that the Hall of Fame should be more than about numbers you can still have hope that the electors will see it that way as well someday and put him in the Hall.