White Sox

Miñoso’s family sheds ‘tears of joy' after HOF nod

White Sox

Sharon Rice-Miñoso and her son Charlie recognized the phone number that lit up the screen Sunday. The Hall of Fame was calling to give them good news: Minnie Miñoso was going to be enshrined in Cooperstown.

“It was bittersweet and exciting at the same time," Sharon said Monday of the honor for her late husband.

The Golden Days Era Committee, which considers players whose primary contribution to baseball came between 1950 and 1969, voted Miñoso and three others – Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva – into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. The Early Baseball Era Committee (prior to 1950) added Bud Fowler and Buck O’Neil.

“I think it would mean a lot to dad,” Charlie said, “to be inducted into Cooperstown alongside this class.”

Miñoso was a trailblazer, the first Black Cuban player in MLB and the first Black player to join the White Sox. Later dubbed Mr. White Sox, Miñoso’s storied career included stints in the Negro Leagues, MLB and the Mexican League.

RELATED: Minnie Miñoso's Hall-of-Fame baseball legacy

“It has been frustrating to some degree,” Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, said last month, “to see people come up with what I thought were just illegitimate reasons to keep Minnie out of the baseball Hall of Fame. It should have happened when he was still with us.”

Miñoso was also on the 2011 and 2014 ballots presented to the Golden Days Era Committee. The committee did not vote him in either time. Miñoso died in 2015.

 

“This time was just a bit different,” Charlie said of taking the call Sunday from the Hall of Fame, “because it was the first time to go through the motions without him. So, still trying to process exactly what this means and how we can honor dad in this way with him not being physically with us.”

Sharon, Charlie and Charlie's boyfriend waited together at home for the call to come in.

“I was in tears before the sentence was really uttered,” Charlie said, “just sort of recognizing what that call meant. I just felt very proud of what he had done, I felt proud of my father. I felt proud of his contributions and I felt proud of the sacrifices our family made.”

Charlie called his brother and sisters to talk over the news.

Asked what his father would have said, Charlie pictured him exclaiming, “'Ay dio mio,” and, “Thank you, my friend, for this news.”

Said Sharon: "I think he would have been surprised and honored. Minnie was very humble when it came to something like this. Honestly, I know Minnie would have cried. He was a sentimental guy and very humble and never felt he deserved special recognitions. As Charlie and I did, it was tears of joy."

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