Chicago's 1st black major league baseball player Minoso dies

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Chicago's 1st black major league baseball player Minoso dies
Minnie Minoso, the White Sox's first black player, played 12 of his 17 years in the Major Leagues in Chicago.
White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso is seen March 1960. (AP Photo/Harry Hall)
Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, right, poses with Chicago White Sox legend Minnie Minoso and a baseball they both signed after a news conference where the White Sox announced a six-year, $68 million deal with Abreu Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, in Chicago. The 26-year-old Abreu will receive a signing bonus of $10 million and earn $7 million in 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Chicago White Sox outfielder Orestes "Minnie" Minoso smiles as he poses in Tampa, Fla., on March 9, 1957. Minoso, whose hometown is Marianao, Cuba, became the first black player with the White Sox when he was traded in 1951 with the Cleveland Indians. (AP Photo)
Chicago White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso fingers left cheek, where pitch by Yankee Hurler Bob Grim Struck him May 18 at Yankee Stadium, as he leaves Lenox Hill Hospital on May 19, 1955 in New York City. Minoso was released from the hospital after being held overnight for observation. X-rays showed no fracture for Minnie who's on way to Chicago to join the White Sox for May 20 night game. (AP Photo/ Harry Harris)
Gus Bell, 25, becomes an out at third base in ninth inning stopping a rally by National League in all-star game on July 9, 1957 in St. Louis. Bell attempted to go from first to third on Ernie Banks? single, but left fielder Minnie Minoso tossed to third baseman Frank Malzone in time to nip Bell. Ump Frank Dascoli rules Malzon tagged Bell as he slid by Americans won, 6-5. (AP Photo)
Chicago White Sox outfielder Orestes "Minnie" Minoso poses in batting position at Al Lopez Field in Tampa, Fla., on March 9, 1957. (AP Photo)
FILE - In a March 9, 1957 file photo, Chicago White Sox outfielder Orestes "Minnie" Minoso poses in batting position at Al Lopez Field in Tampa, Fla. Major league baseball's first black player in Chicago, Minnie Minoso, has died. The Cook County medical examiner confirmed his death Sunday, March 1, 2015. There is some question about his age but the White Sox say he was 92. (AP Photo, File)
Minnie Minoso, Cleveland outfielder playing with the Marianao in the Cuban winter league, tries a gun out for size as he clowns in the dugout at Havana Stadium, Feb. 1, 1959. At right is Casey Wise, Milwaukee outfielder. Unidentified soldier at far right came in with Fidel Castro. (AP Photo/Harry Hall)
From left: Chicago White Sox shortstop Chico Carrasquel of Venezuela, outfielder Minnie Minoso and pitcher Luis Aloma, both from Cuba, are seen June 19, 1951. (AP Photo)
A home plate delegation of American Leaguers greets Al Rosen as he crosses plate on his three-run homer in third inning of All-Star game on July 13, 1954 in Cleveland. Identifiable at plate are Bobby Avila (1) and Minnie Minoso (9) who scored ahead of Rosen, and Ray Boone (8), next batter who also homered. (AP Photo)
Minnie Minoso of the Chicago White Sox is overcome with emotion as he receives a trophy in Havana, Cuba, Jan. 3, 1954. Cubans honored Minoso as the outstanding Cuban athlete of the year in ceremonies in Havana's Gran Stadium. Others present are unidentified. (AP Photo)
Cleveland Indians outfield Minnie Minoso, right, appears to be explaining why he was several days late to Tribe General Manager Frank Lane March 9, 1959 in Phoenix, Ariz. Lane listens with smile, but wiped it off later when he fined Minoso $500. (AP Photo)
Minnie Minoso is seen in Venados Mexican League uniform in 1970. (AP Photo/Mexican League)
Chicago White Sox legend Minnie Minoso returns the first pitch of an exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, March 17, 2000, in Tucson, Ariz., Minoso, a seven-time American League All-Star, was with the Sox 1951-57, 1960-61, 1964, 1976, and 1980. The White Sox beat the Cubs 12-3. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Baseball legends Ernie Banks, left, and Minnie Minoso, far right, help organize players from the Chicago Housing Authority's Inner City Little League for a team picture Thursday, June 8, 2000, at Comiskey Park in Chicago. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Chicago White Sox legend Orestes "Minnie" Minoso signs autographs prior to the Sox' home opener against the Detroit Tigers Friday, April 6, 2001, at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Minoso was honored as a member of the Sox' All-Century Team before the game. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Minnie Minoso smiles in front of a sculpture of him before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at U.S. Cellular Field prior to the game between the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers Sunday, Sept. 19, 2004, in Chicago. The Chicago White Sox unveiled the life-sized sculpture to honor his role in the club's century-long history. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Left to right, Former Chicago White Sox players Luis Aparicio, Billy Pierce, Minnie Minoso and Harold Baines walk on the field with the World Series Trophy during ceremonies before the White Sox baseball game against the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field, Wednesday, April 5, 2006 in Chicago.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 26: Former Chicago White Sox player Minnie Minoso throws out the first pitch to Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox before the game between the Chicago White Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays on April 26, 2014 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 31: Former Negro League player Minnie Minoso sits in the dugout of the San Diego Padres prior to the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Petco Park on May 31, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 31: Former Negro League player Minnie Minoso throws out the first pitch before a baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Toronto Blue Jays at Petco Park on May 31, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - 1992: Former player Orestes 'Minnie' Minoso of the Chicago White Sox poses for a portrait prior to an Old Timer's Day game in 1992 at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Diamond Images/Getty Images)
White Sox player, Nellie Fox, at home plate, shaking hands with Minnie Minoso, during game with Red Sox. (Photo by Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
White Sox player, Minnie Minose, in locker room, wearing shorts. (Photo by Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - 1952. Minnie Minoso, left, and Sam Mele of the Chicago White Sox have a talk before a game in Yankee Stadium in New York during the 1952 season. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)
The magazine Fotos features baseball stars from the professional league with players in portraits on the cover. Minnie Minoso, Claro Duany, Alejandro Crespo, and Chuck Connors all appear on the cover of this issue published in 1946 in Havana, Cuba. (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)
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CHICAGO (AP) -- Minnie Minoso, who hit a two-run home run in his first at-bat when he became major league baseball's first black player in Chicago in 1951, has died, the Cook County medical examiner said Sunday.

The medical examiner's office did not immediately offer further details. There is some question about Minoso's age but the White Sox say he was 92.

Minoso played 12 of his 17 seasons in Chicago, hitting .304 with 135 homers and 808 RBIs for the White Sox. The White Sox retired his No. 9 in 1983 and there is a statue of Minoso at U.S. Cellular Field.

Minoso made his major league debut with Cleveland in 1949 and was dealt to Chicago in a three-team trade two years later. He made his White Sox debut on May 1, 1951, and homered in his first plate appearance against Yankees right-hander Vic Raschi.

It was the start of a beautiful relationship between the Cuban slugger and the White Sox.

Minoso, regarded as baseball's first black Latino star, was a Havana native who spent most of his career in left field. He is one of only two players to appear in a major league game in five different decades. He got his final hit in 1976 at age 53 and went 0 for 2 in two games in 1980 for the White Sox, who tried unsuccessfully over the years to get the "Cuban Comet" into baseball's Hall of Fame.

"When I watched Minnie Minoso play, I always thought I was looking at a Hall of Fame player," White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in an informational package produced by the team for a 2011 Cooperstown push. "I never understood why Minnie wasn't elected.

"He did everything. He could run, he could field, he could hit with power, he could bunt and steal bases. He was one of the most exciting players I have ever seen."

Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso Arrieta was selected for nine All-Star games and won three Gold Gloves in left. He was hit by a pitch 192 times, ninth on baseball's career list, and finished in the top four in AL MVP voting four times.

Despite the push by the White Sox and other prominent Latin players, Minoso has never made it to Cooperstown. His highest percentage during his 15 years on the writers' ballot was 21.1 in 1988. He was considered by the Veterans Committee in 2014 and fell short of the required percentage for induction.

"My last dream is to be in Cooperstown, to be with those guys," Minoso said in that 2011 package distributed by the White Sox. "I want to be there. This is my life's dream."

Minoso, who made his major league debut with Cleveland in 1949, hit .298 for his career with 186 homers and 1,023 RBIs. The speedy Minoso also led the AL in triples and steals three times in each category.

Playing in an era dominated by the Yankees, Minoso never played in the postseason.

"Every young player in Cuba wanted to be like Minnie Minoso, and I was one of them," Hall of Fame slugger Tony Perez said. "The way he played the game, hard all the time, hard. He was very consistent playing the game. He tried to win every game. And if you want to be like somebody, and I picked Minnie, you have to be consistent."

Minoso appeared in just nine games in his first stint with the Indians, but he took off when he was dealt to Chicago as part of a three-team trade in 1951 that also involved the Philadelphia Athletics. He went deep in his first plate appearance against Yankees right-hander Raschi, and hit .375 in his first 45 games with the White Sox.

Minoso finished that first season in Chicago with a .326 batting average, 10 homers and 76 RBIs in 146 games for the Indians and White Sox. He also had a major league-best 14 triples and an AL-best 31 steals.

It was Minoso's first of eight seasons with at least a .300 batting average. He also had four seasons with at least 100 RBIs.

"I have baseball in my blood," Minoso said. "Baseball is all I've ever wanted to do."

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