DALLAS -- What was Jerry Reinsdorfs reaction when he learned that Minnie Minoso wasnt elected into the Hall of Fame?
Im stunned, said the White Sox chairman, who appeared at the press conference at the baseball winter meetings in person, hoping the 16-member Golden Era committee would give Minoso the 12 votes needed for induction. Minoso received nine.
"I really thought hed get 16 votes, Reinsdorf said. But I wasnt in the room. I didnt hear the deliberations. I was on a committee a year ago, and the discussions were great a year ago when we talked pros and cons on certain guys. Its hard to criticize the people who were there when I wasnt there myself. I dont understand it.
Reinsdorf wasnt the only one upset about the news. So was Roland Hemond, the former White Sox GM who was on the voting committee, and is not supposed to express his feelings about the voting results. However, Hemond couldnt hold back his true emotions saying, Im disappointed.
The expression on his face showed a whole lot more.
In his 17-year major league career, Minoso batted .298, scoring 1,136 runs, driving in 1,023 with almost a third of his 1,963 hits going for extra bases. He won three Gold Gloves and finished in the top 10 for A-L MVP five times. But it was his trailblazing status as the unofficial Jackie Robinson of Latin America that has many in the baseball community feeling he belongs in Cooperstown.
Orlando Cepeda (a Latin Hall of Famer) spoke out on this many times about how Minnie was the trailblazer, Reinsdorf said. Minnie was the guy who opened the door for all the Latins who came behind him. Minnie not only had the misfortune to be black, but he couldnt speak English.
After the announcement was made, Reinsdorf immediately contacted Minoso, who wasnt surprised by the news.
I dont think he really expected it. I think he knew that it might not happen. Ive known Minnie for over 30 years, Ive never seen him to be anything except up, Reinsdorf said. He was his usual classy self and basically shrugged his shoulders, thanked us for his support and said life would go on.
Will Minoso ever get in?
Possibly, but he might have to wait a while. The Golden Era Committee doesnt vote again until 2014.
However, Minnie will certainly have someone in his corner: Reinsdorf.
"If Im still around in three years, Im certainly going to do all I can to try to help him.