It’s been a rough start to the new year for not only the city of Chicago, but for its sports franchises as well.
There’s not much you can really say, except it’s definitely frustarting being a fan of anything Chicago these days. With Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane falling to a broken clavicle and Bulls’ Derrick Rose tearing the meniscus in his right knee – their teams championship hopes appear to be fading.
Although the faith is somewhat alive, there has been a sense of panic after both stars fell at almost the same exact time.
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Before these two superstars suffered their injuries, the city was mourning over the death of Ernie Banks. Not only was Mr. Cub one of the greatest baseball players of all-time, but he was respected and loved throughout the entire country and Chicago-land area by fans of all kinds.
It was hard not to like the guy who had the best smile in all of baseball.
Now just a month later, Chicago fans are in mourning again after news broke regarding the death of another baseball icon. According to the Chicago Tribune, ‘Mr. White Sox’ Minnie Minoso passed away early Sunday morning after suffering a tear in his pulmonary artery. His family said he was 90-years-old as his true age is unknown.
Just like Mr. Banks, Minoso broke a barrier in Chicago but with the Cubs’ rival on the South Side.
In 1946, Minnie began his professional baseball career in the ‘negro leagues’ as a member of the New York Cubans before jumping to the majors four years later. Banks would make his debut in the league that Minoso left in 1950 with the Kansas City Monarchs.
Shortly after signing with the Indians in 1949, Minoso was traded to the Chicago White Sox in a multi-team trade which included the Athletics. This would make him the first ‘black’ player in White Sox history.
He would also go onto hitting a 415 ft. home run on the very first pitch in his very first at-bat as a member of the organization.
Although he began playing professional ball before Banks, Minoso played nine more seasons. The only difference between the two is that Ernie played with the Cubs his entire career.
"“Having recently lost one of our all-time greats, Ernie Banks, we share the heartache with the White Sox organization and fans everywhere who were blessed to enjoy the talent, heart and passion of Mr. White Sox” – Cubs’ Chairman Tom Ricketts via the Chicago Tribune."
From 1949 to 1980, the man won three gold gloves and was an all-star nine times in his career with the Indians, White Sox, Cardinals, and the Senators.
"“For South Siders and Sox Fans all across the country including me, Minnie Minoso is and always will be ‘Mr. White Sox’. Minnie may have been passed over by the Baseball Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but for me and for generations of black and Latino young people, Minnie’s quintessentially American story embodies far more than a plaque ever could.” – President Barack Obama via the Chicago Tribune."
Minoso would finish with 1,023 RBI, 186 home runs, .298 batting average and 205 stolen bases.
Despite both Chicago icons failing to win a World Series title during their careers, they’ve each had their numbers retired and a statue unveiled in their honor on top of paving the way for minorities who would follow in their footsteps.
On behalf of the Cubbies Crib staff, we would like to send our condolences to Minnie Minoso’s family, the Chicago White Sox and their fans.