Showing posts with label Minnie Minoso. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Minnie Minoso. Show all posts

Monday, January 2, 2017

Classic Minnie Minoso one hour interview from 1993

In this 1993 interview with Minnie Minoso, Tom Weinberg talks with the Cuban great for an hour at the site of the Old Comiskey Park about his lengthy career in baseball. A relaxed Minoso speaks with his trademark candor that made him a fan favorite during his then six-decade involvement in the game.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mudcat Grant champions the case for his teammates on the Golden Era Ballot

With a career that started under the watchful eye of Larry Doby during his 1958 rookie season with the Cleveland Indians, Jim “Mudcat” Grant was always surrounded by Hall of Fame talent. During his 14 major league seasons, Grant was teammates with 19 different Hall of Famers. On December 8th, he hopes to see that number increase in size.

Four of Grant’s former teammates — Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, and Maury Wills are up for consideration on the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Golden Era ballot. A 16-member panel of former players, executives and media members will decide on their collective fates for enshrinement at the Winter Meetings in San Diego.

Jim "Mudcat" Grant / N.Diunte
When Grant broke in to the majors in 1958, always hustling for him in the outfield was Minnie Minoso. Even though Grant was already familiar with Minoso’s aggressive style of play, as they had faced each other previously in the Cuban Winter League, he couldn’t help but notice the variety of ways in which he contributed on the field.

“I noticed one thing about Minnie,” Grant said in an interview at last month’s Firefighter’s Charitable Foundation Dinner in New York, “he was an all-around ballplayer. He knocked in a lot of runs as an outfielder and he stole a lot of bases. He could do anything. He wasn’t a big guy, but he went all out all the time. He was like Pete Rose; even on a short pop-up he would run like he was beating out a base hit. …. I think Minnie [Minoso] should be in, but he’s not going to make it. … He’s in my Hall of Fame if that counts.”

As he started to think about the Hall of Fame chances of his aforementioned teammates, he found fault with the entire process. He related the process to one of a popularity contest.

“When I talk about the Hall of Fame,” he said, “I don’t have a lot of respect for those people who vote for the Hall of Fame because they miss so many people that should be in the Hall of Fame. It seems like they called up one another and said, ‘Let’s put this guy in.’”

Grant stuck out over 1,200 batters in his major league career, but the amount of swings-and-misses on what should have been home runs that he’s seen from the Hall of Fame electorate has baffled him. He turned his attention to two other pitchers Lee Smith and Jim Kaat, the latter who is the leading returning vote getter from the 2012 Golden Era ballot.

“I know some guys that [have a Hall of Fame] vote and when they miss Lee Smith, when they miss Jim Kaat — who should be in the Hall of Fame … They’re so many pitchers in the Hall of Fame that have less victories than Jim Kaat. … How does this work now? You have to wonder why you are holding out on this guy and that guy who should be in the Hall of Fame.”

The further he thought about who the various committees have missed, he immediately turned to another teammate, Tony Oliva. Grant played alongside Oliva on the Minnesota Twins when they challenged the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1965 World Series. The Cuban-born Oliva was another slam dunk choice for Mudcat.

“He should be in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “There’s no answer to this even when you ask some of the guys that got votes; there’s no answer to it. You have to think about Vada Pinson, Al Oliver; there are so many people.”

With the newly formed committees from the Hall of Fame to assess players against those of their own eras, opportunities are being created to potentially right some of the wrongs made by the BBWAA and past Veterans Committees. Grant still feels like these groups have lost the chance to honor those deserving of the Hall.

“When you get to the Veterans Committee,” he said, “they miss out too because it seems like they compare who they’re voting for to themselves. If you’re in the Hall of Fame and you’ve got a chance to put the veterans in, you’re missing out on an opportunity. A Hall of Fame vote should be thought about for players who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. You have to do a little research on these guys to see what they did.”



Saturday, August 31, 2013

Minnie Minoso receives deserved recognition in new documentary

Minnie Minoso / Baseball-Almanac.com
Nearing his 90th birthday, Minnie Minoso is still bouncing around Chicago as an ambassador for the White Sox, displaying the vigor that allowed him to play professional baseball in seven different decades.

Tom Weinberg, director of the Mediaburn video archive, has given Minoso his just due by producing a documentary, "Baseball's Been Very, Very Good To Me: The Minnie Minoso Story."

Click here to read a review from LatinoSports.com of the documentary which is still awaiting its proper national distribution. It is a fitting tribute to one of baseball's overlooked pioneers.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bernie Williams placed among Latino baseball legends

The Latino Baseball Hall of Fame (Salon de Fama del Beisbol Latino), located in La Romana, Dominican Republic, announced its Class of 2012 selections at the MLB offices Thursday. Leading the class of 2012 was the much revered New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams. The Puerto Rican centerfielder was among a panel that included Latino Baseball Hall of Famers Felipe Alou, Minnie Miñoso and Tony Perez.

Minnie Minoso, Felipe Alou, Tony Perez, and Bernie Williams / N. Diunte
While much of the attention centered on the announcement of Williams’ selection, the San Juan native humbly deferred to the legends seated to his left. The first person he mentioned in his impromptu speech was Miñoso who is potentially a candidate for the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown with the introduction of the “Golden Era” ballot, which reviews the candidacy of players between the years of 1947-1972. Williams expressed fond memories of hearing the praises of the “Cuban Comet” in his household as a youngster.

“Everybody in my family knew about the great feats of Minnie Miñoso," Williams said. "When they talked about great baseball players in my household, they would say, ‘Minnie Miñoso es [un] tremendo pelotero.’ I always grew up listening about him even though I never saw him play, but I saw him through the eyes of my family."

Starting as a 16-year-old playing for Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League, Williams beamed with pride while speaking about his first manager who also happened to be fellow panel member, Felipe Alou.

“Felipe, he was my first manager," he said. "As a 16 year old, I remember taking off after high school going to Criollo de Caguas. It was my first team and he was my first manager. It was just a great experience and he was like a father figure to me.”

Alou has been a driving force in the formation of the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame. Enshrined in their first class, Alou is promoting the heritage of Latinos in baseball through the museum.

“This is probably my last baby in my career," he said. "I think this is big for many reasons; big because of all of the great players that are becoming and have become and will become part of this project. There are so many great Latin players who are really short in Cooperstown.”

Alou hopes to enlighten the younger players and the rest of world about the great players of the past. The Latin influence in baseball is one he feels that needs to be both preserved and celebrated.

“The Latinos, there are not a whole lot of history that today’s player know," he said. "We know, those of us that are here, that it took over 100 years to get all of these Latino players in the Hall of Fame. We would like for the Latino players and also the American people to know some of those players of Cooperstown quality, so they know where we all came from and where they came from and where we are going.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Spook Jacobs steals the show at the Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society Cuban Baseball celebration

Forrest "Spook" Jacobs is back stealing again; this time it's not bases, but the spotlight from two prominent former Major Leaguers. Nine-time All-Star Minnie Minoso, 19-year veteran Tony Taylor, as well as former Pirate Cholly Naranjo spoke the highest praises of "Spook" Jacobs at the recent Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society tribute to these former stars of the Cuban League. While Jacobs only played parts of three seasons from 1954-1956 with the A's and Pirates, his play south of the border left an indelible impression on those that watched him.

Spook Jacobs
"[Jacobs] was a guy I've known for many years from when I was a young man in Cuba," Taylor said. "He played baseball in Cuba many years there. I remember watching him and I used to say, 'Someday I wish I could play baseball like that man.' I remember him playing in Cuba as a good hitter, a good second baseman with a lot of speed. One thing I liked about him, he hustled. He played baseball how you're supposed to play baseball. I enjoyed watching him play. When I signed into professional baseball, I was a reserve in Havana. I got traded to the same team where he played second base, and I finally got to practice with him to learn how to play second base."
Tony Taylor
Minoso cited Jacobs as his reason for attending the event. A friendship made over 50 years ago lured the Cuban great to the reunion.

"It's beautiful to be here," Minoso said. "I didn't come here for money, not for anything. [I came for] a good friend, Spook Jacobs, the second baseman. I remember him very well because I used to hate the way he hit us! He used to be a crazy hitter in Cuba. I used to hit .260, .280, he used to hit .300 easy! [It amazed me] he wasn't in the big leagues. I used to say, 'Geez this guy is a hell of a hitter. How does nobody take him in the big leagues?' Finally, he made it. He's a good person. That's the reason I am here."

Minnie Minoso
Naranjo had the opportunity to host Jacobs while he was in Florida for the recent Cuban Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. Naranjo recounted how he reunited with Jacobs.

"I had a call from some time back that Spook Jacobs was coming to Miami because he was being nominated into the Cuban Sports Hall of Fame," Naranjo said. "Bobby Bragan called me and let me know he was coming to Florida, for me to give him a call. Bob, Spook and I met for the first time 1952. Spook went to play second base for us, Bobby was our manager and it was my first year in winter ball in Cuba. I told Spook he was welcome to stay with me for this occasion. Spook was kind enough to visit. In response to that, Spook called to invite me to come to Philadelphia, and here I am."

Cholly Naranjo
For these players, this event was an opportunity to reconnect with men whom they shared a special bond from playing in Cuba together over 50 years ago. Jacobs was delighted to spend precious time the other three players over the reunion weekend.

"I was very happy they could come up from Florida and Chicago for me," Jacobs said. "I was excited to see Minnie. We played against each other in Havana for six winters. We battled back and forth, good-naturedly of course. Being in Havana, most of the American players stayed with each other and didn't associate with the Cuban players, not because we didn't want to, but that is where we were supposed to stay. The only time we got to talk with the Cuban players was either during the ballgame or at the ballpark. I thought it was a shame that we didn't associate with the Cuban players while we were there. It was very nice to be able to spend time with the Cuban players here today."

Minoso relished his recent encounter in Miami with Jacobs for the Cuban Sports Hall of Fame induction. They spent many hours reminiscing about their playing days and their lives after baseball.

"We met again in Miami for the Cuban Sports Hall of Fame Banquet," Minoso said. "It was the first time through all of those years that we were together. We ate dinner together with Naranjo. We played dominoes and I cooked chicken and rice. It was great to have the opportunity to talk so long with Jacobs. He has a great family, his wife and his son."

The event, which was sponsored by the Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society served to not only celebrate the merits of their efforts in Cuba over a half-century ago, but to raise funds for the volunteer organization. The Historical Society is a tremendous resource for the fan and researcher alike, with a wonderful museum in Hatboro that showcases the history of the Philadelphia Athletics as well as the baseball from that time period. The members of the society went through great efforts to organize the event and should be commended for a job well done. The atmosphere was friendly and inviting. One could gain a sense that they were surrounded by many others who shared the same love for the national pastime. Naranjo summed up his feelings for the event, which were also shared by the other three former Major Leaguers in attendance.

"I've been away so long, it's like coming back again to the old times when people really know about you, and you find out that you are still welcome."


Bobby Shantz, Minnie Minoso, Tony Taylor

Friday, April 17, 2009

Minnie Minoso And Others To Be Honored In Philadelphia April 25, 2009 For Their Cuban Sports Hall of Fame Induction

Pioneering baseball legend Minnie Minoso will be appearing in Horsham, PA alongside Cholly Naranjo, Forrest "Spook" Jacobs and Tony Taylor starting at 10AM on Saturday April 25, 2009 to be honored for their recent induction into the Cuban Sports Hall of Fame. Minoso is a legendary figure in both Cuban and American professional baseball, and was a finalist for the 2006 Negro League inductees for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Taylor was an All-Star in 1960, playing 19 seasons in Major League Baseball. Jacobs, one of the last surviving members of the Philadelphia Athletics, played 11 years in the Cuban Winter Leagues. Naranjo was a curveball specialist who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1956 and 9 seasons in the Cuban Winter Leagues.

Admission is free and the festivities are sponsored by the Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society. There will be an autograph signing and silent auction will follow the festivities. You can register online for the auction via the Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society website.

The proceeds from the auction and silent auction will benefit the Historical Society which is composed entirely of volunteers. They maintain an excellent museum in Horsham, PA which chronicles Philadelphia's vast baseball history.

Stay tuned to Baseball Happenings, as we will bring you photos from the event and interviews with the legends who are being honored.

Autograph Session Details
April 25, 2009 10AM-2PM - FREE Admission
In-Person Prices
Minnie Minoso (Only 7 decade player in baseball) - $20 any item
Tony Taylor (1958-76 Cubs, Phillies, Tigers) - $20 any item
Spook Jacobs - (1954-56 Philadelphia / KC's A's, Pirates) $10 any item
Cholly Naranjo - (1956 Pirates) One free item, $6 extras

Mail Order (Orders accepted until April 24th) - For mail order inquries, contact the Philadelphia A's historical society
Phone: (215)323-9901 Toll Free Phone: 1-800-318-0483
Email - yorkroad6@aol.com

Minnie Minoso:
Our signed baseball - $35, Our signed photo - $25, Your signed item - $25
Tony Taylor:
Our signed ball - $35, Our signed photo -$25, Your signed item - $20
Spook Jacobs:
Our baseball signed - $25, Our signed photo - $12, Your signed item -$10
Cholly Naranjo:
Our baseball signed - $15, Our signed photo - $8, Your signed item -$6