White Sox Legend Minnie Minoso Dies - NBC Bay Area

White Sox Legend Minnie Minoso Dies

Minoso was the first black player for the South Side team

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    White Sox legend Minnie Minoso, affectionately known as the "Cuban Comet," died Saturday night at 90 years old. (Published Monday, March 2, 2015)

    White Sox legend Minnie Minoso, affectionately known as the "Cuban Comet," died Saturday night at 90 years old.

    Minoso died of natural causes related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

    The Cuban-born Minoso was the first black player for the South Side baseball team. He is a nine-time All-Star outfielder and Gold Glove winner.

    Minoso made his debut at Comiskey Park in 1951, and his play time with the team spanned four decades. He was named as a candidate for induction into baseball's Hall of Fame in 2012 but was denied last year.

    In tweet after his death, the White Sox said, "Minnie Minoso -- Mr. #WhiteSox -- has died. Tears of sadness are falling for a great man."

    The Minoso family confirmed the death Sunday afternoon in a statement to the press.

    "Minnie lived a full life of joy and happiness, surrounded always by friends and family," the family said. "It is during moments like these that love matters most. Minnie enjoyed nothing more than to be at the ballpark cheering on his White Sox. For Minnie, every day was a reason to smile."

    Minoso appeared in a total of 1,835 career games over 17 major-league seasons with Cleveland, the White Sox, St. Louis and Washington.

    Minoso's influence reached far beyond the baseball stadium. As the first black Major League player in Chicago, he served as an inspiration to countless young people, including President Barack Obama.

    "Minnie may  have been passed over by the Baseball Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but for me and for generations of black and Latino young people, Minnie's quintessentially American story embodies far more than a plaque ever could," the president said in a statement.

    Governor Bruce Rauner called Minoso "a trailblazer, a leader and an extraordinary baseball player."

    In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Minoso's "infectious enthusiasm forever solidified his place as a Chicago icon for the ages."

    The Chicago Cubs also released a statement expressing their condolences for the White Sox.

    "Having recently lost one of our all-time greats Ernie Banks, we share the heartache with the White Sox organization and fans everywhere who were blessed to enjoy the talent, heart and passion of Mr. White Sox," the North Side team said. "He will be forever known as an electric offensive player and great ambassador for the game of baseball."

    According to the Chicago White Sox, Minoso once talked about wearing his Sox uniform till the day he died -- and even afterward.

    "When I die, I want to be playing baseball," Minoso said. "Truly. They don't bury me without my uniform. If I die, I die happy because I was wearing No. 9 for the White Sox."