06 July 2015

the minnie minoso memorial patch

adam laroche is sporting the memorial patch worn by the white sox for minnie minoso on this 2015 topps stadium club card
following minoso's death at the age of either 89 or 92 in march of this year, the chisox added the patch with minoso's retired number 9 to their jerseys.  minoso had played for the white sox from 1951-1957, and again from 1960-1961, and then again in 1964.  and again in 1976 and 1980.  over those 12 seasons, minoso hit .304 as a member of the white sox with over 1500 hits.  he was a favorite of the fans and owner bill veeck, who had signed minoso for the indians while he was that team's owner, and then traded for him a couple of years later after buying the white sox.

the last two appearances, in 1976 and 1980, were part of a plan by veeck to allow minoso to play professionally in his fourth and fifth decades.  minoso had debuted with the cleveland indians in 1949, and so had played in the 40's, 50's, and 60's during his prime years.  as a 50-year old in 1976, minoso was used as a designated hitter, going 1 for 8 with a single and becoming the third-oldest player to hit safely in a game.  in 1980, minoso was used twice as a pinch-hitter, and was 0 for 2 in those at bats.  minoso wanted to appear in a game in 1990, but major league baseball denied the 64-year old's request.

minoso did get to appear in a game during the 1990's, however, as veeck's son mike - a co-owner of the independent league saint paul saints - gave him an at bat in 1993.  then, in 2003, minoso led off for the saints and drew a walk before being lifted for a pinch runner who was probably at least 50 years younger than the 77-ish minoso.  i was actually at that game as fate would have it - it was also a saints hat giveaway night with green hats provided by general mills brand lucky charms.  good times.


Brian said...

There was a pretty interesting editorial pages debate going on about the 1990 comeback attempt - there were baseball writers clutching their pearls and wailing about "the sanctity of the game." They felt Minoso's spot on the roster was a pure publicity stunt and would be a negative thing for baseball.
Those in favor of MLB granting permission to add Minoso to the Sox roster pointed out that baseball was not so sacred at the moment (Pete Rose's gambling had just been uncovered), and Minnie was one of the great stories in Baseball history. Baseball was and is entertainment.
I would have been in favor of it - imagine being a kid going to a game with a parent or grandparent. Minoso comes up to bat, and grandpa says " I saw him when I was a kid." Dad says "Me too." How cool would that have been?

Tony Burbs said...

Baseball - Captains of Attitude, Sanctity of the Game, Unwritten Rules and Code, The Fun Police.... Sheesh.