Mar 31, 2010

non-HOF Profile Derby #14: Minnie Minoso

Next, is an interesting case, a mostly left fielder Saturnino Orestes Armas (Arrieta) Minoso (better known as Minnie)(1949-1980). I figured it would be a good idea considering he is now in the header in the esteemed Collective Troll.

Place on the WAR chart: : Below Enos Slaughter and Joe Gordon, above Harry Hooper and Sam Rice

Career Overview and Some Numbers: Played for Cleveland Indians (1949, 1951), Chicago White Sox (1951-1957), Cleveland Indians (1958-1959), Chicago White Sox (1960-1961), St. Louis Cardinals (1962), Washington Senators (1963), Chicago White Sox (1976, 1980). Yes, he did have a 13 year break between appearances, he was a short-lived pinch hitter at the ages of 50 and 54 and subsequently became the first (and only) player to appear in an MLB game in five decades. He eventually made appearances in professional games in 1990 and 2003, officially playing in seven decades.

More substantially, he led the league in 2B once, 3B and SB thrice, TB once, and HBP a bone-crunching 10 times. He also was a top 10 MVP votegetter 5 times, AS 7 times, and Gold Glove winner 3 times. He posted seven seasons with a >130 OPS+ and had 4 100 run and 100 RBI seasons as well

What makes him an interesting case beyond the numbers? Well, his career overlapped with the beginning of the integration of baseball. In 1951, when he first became a full-time player, he was 25 years old. He then was a regular contributor until the age of 37. Before making his MLB debut, Minoso did play in the Negro Leagues as a 3B. He was a free agent by the end of the 1948 season. I believe that most players signed by MLB clubs were ready to play at the next level within one season, depending on their age and experience. Realistically, Minoso's career probably would have started 2-3 years earlier (in the right organization) if integration had already occurred when his career began. This, of course, does not preclude that his career would have taken the same path. However, his talent level was quite high and it is likely that he could have had a slightly extended all-star/hall of fame-esque career.

Best Season:1954: Hit .320/.411/.535 (155 OPS+), led the league in TB (304) and 3B (18). Also had 19 HR, 116 RBI and 119 R with a 77/46 BB/K ratio.

The Final Numbers: Hit .298/.389/.459 (130 OPS+) with 186 HR, 1023 RBI, 1136 R, 205 SB, 814/584 BB/K ratio, and 192 HBP (10th all time)

Why He Should be Remembered:Besides the publicity stunts after his career was over (of course they were orchestrated by a Veek), he was a speedy left fielder who made his mark during the 1950s. He was one of the first Cuban born ballplayers to have a substantial career. He also was the first black player to play for the Chicago White Sox.

HOF Balloting Performance:Remained on the ballot for 15 years until 1999 with a high of 21.1%. He was on the Negro Leagues ballot in 2005, but did not have a substantial enough career there to be elected only on his performance during that time.

Rookie Card:1952 Bowman 5
Modern Cards:2001 Topps Archives, 2002 SP Legendary Cuts Jersey


Jim from Downingtown said...

The fact that he played in 7 decades is bogus. His temporary reactivations by the White Sox while he was on their coaching staff in the 70s & 80s (just so he could claim 7-decade status) was a cheap stunt, and only cheapens the accomplishments of other players (like Ted Williams, Jim Kaat, etc) who managed to play in 4 decades legitimately.

Shame on the White Sox and Minoso for not having more respect for the game, and those above-mentioned players.

unclemoe said...

I like Minnie.