Minoso wins Robinson Legacy Award
Beloved outfielder was first player of "color" in Sox history
CHICAGO -- None of the 2007 on-field performances by the White Sox were good enough to collectively outdistance the competition in the standings or individually in the recently announced Legacy Awards.
But that's not to say the White Sox were shut out completely among the honorees. Minnie Minoso was recognized via the Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement award, with the baseball great having previously starred in the Major Leagues and the Negro Leagues.
Minoso became the first player of "color" to suit up for the White Sox on May 1, 1951, against the Yankees at Comiskey Park. He also played during seven different decades, with a June 30, 1993, foray into Independent League baseball with the St. Paul Saints setting the record.
There's also Minoso's .298 average over 17 Major League seasons and his 186 home runs and 205 career stolen bases. Minoso was a candidate for election for the seventh time as part of the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee ballot earlier this year, but was passed over, just as Minoso fell short of the Hall of Fame in a special 2006 ballot of 39 former Negro League players and players from pre-Negro League times, voted on by a select panel of 12.
The venerable Minoso won't campaign for his own election, despite his strong candidacy. But White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf certainly appreciates the impact Minoso still has on the organization at 81.
"Minnie is probably the most popular player in the history of the [White Sox] franchise," Reinsdorf said. "People who never saw him play love him. He has an amazing magnetic personality. He draws people to him.
"People sit and listen to him speaking, and they are just transfixed. He is just a genuinely nice person and really an ambassador of good will."
The Legacy Award, sponsored by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, honors the game's best players in various categories with bronzed statues that carry the likeness and names of stars from "black baseball."
All of the winners will be honored during a gala in Kansas City on Jan. 12, 2008.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.