Minnie Minoso, a former Chicago White Sox outfielder and pioneer, died Sunday morning.
"His son said the family believes Minoso died from a heart condition he had suffered, but were awaiting autopsy results. He had a pacemaker," per Ed Sherman of the Chicago Tribune. Sherman also noted "his age was listed as 90, but there was some question about whether he really was born in 1922 instead of 1925 as he insisted."
A nine-time All-Star, Minoso made his debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1949 after a stint in the Negro Leagues. He wound up sticking around for parts of 17 MLB seasons, bouncing from Cleveland to Chicago to St. Louis to Washington, before finishing his career with a few extra stops with the White Sox.
"He was an extraordinary person," his son Charlie Rice-Minoso said, per Sherman. "He made many contributions to baseball and to Chicago. He'll be missed most by his family and closest friends."
Chicago Bulls radio play-by-play announcer Chuck Swirsky echoed those thoughts:
Minoso's debut in Cleveland set the stage for a trailblazing career. He became the first black Cuban player in big league history and was the first black player to wear a White Sox uniform. The team retired his No. 9 jersey in 1983 and erected a statue outside U.S. Cellular Field in 2004, signifying his importance to the franchise.
As a player, Minoso was a true dual threat. He drove in more than 100 runs four times, stole at least 20 bases on four occasions and was regularly among the league leaders in extra-base hits. In 1960, at the age of 34, Minoso set a career high with 184 base hits while playing in his highest number of games (154).
Of course, advanced-age heroics were par for the course for Minoso. After initially retiring from baseball following the 1964 season, Minoso twice returned to the White Sox for brief appearances. He came back in 1976 at the age of 50 and then again in 1980. In the former instance, he became one of the few players in MLB history to record a hit after the age of 50.
Minoso finished his career with a .298 batting average, 186 home runs and 1,023 RBI. He has, on multiple occasions, barely missed out on reaching the Hall of Fame, including last year, when he received eight of the 12 votes needed from the 16-member Golden Era Committee, per Jordan Owen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
"I'm proud of everything," Minoso said of his career, per Sherman. "I'm proud to be a baseball player."
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