The Quest for the 1960 Topps Set, Part XXVIII
September 14th, 2011 by slangon

I was recently able to cross off another card from the 1960 Topps set. It’s not a Hall of Famer, but it is one of those kind of in between guys who was really good and is a little bit of tough card to get none the less.

#365 Minnoe Minoso

The Cuban born Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso Arrieta played 17 seasons in the Major Leagues, spanning an incredible 5 different decades. And that’s just counting the Major Leagues. If you include the 2 plate appearances with the St. Paul Saints of the Independent Northern League that he had in 1993 and 2003, The Cuban Comet has played in 7 different decades.

Minnie started his playing career in the Negro Leagues in 1945 with the New York Cubans, helping them win the Negro League World Series. He signed on with the Cleveland Indians in 1949. He started that season with them but was sent down to the AAA San Diego Padres after 9 games. He was back with the big club for the 1951 season. This time, he only played 8 games for the Indians before he was traded to the White Sox, in hind sight, probably to the chagrin of Indians management. In 138 games with Chicago that year, Minoso hit .324 with 32 doubles, 14 triples, 10 home runs and 74 runs batted in. He also stole 31 bases and scored 109 times. He was named to the A.L. All-Star team, came in 4th in M.V.P. voting and 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting to Gil MacDougal. Rather interestingly, MacDougal, who was white, and a Yankee, posted a .306/.396/.488 stat line while Minnie, who was the first black player to wear a White Sox uniform, put up a .326/.422/.500 combined line. Just saying.

Minoso spent the next decade with Chicago, earning him another nickname – “Mr. White Sox”. During those 10 years, he was an All-Star 6 times and earned 3 Gold Gloves. He also hit .300 or better 7 times, topped 90 runs 8 times, and drove in at least 100 runs 4 times. He also made it into the Top 10 in M.V.P. voting 4 times during that span. Nine years out of those ten, he also led the league in getting hit by pitches. To this day, he is 9th All-Time in that category.

Despite what the cartoonists at Topps would have you believe, Minnie never “returned” to Chicago after 2 years in Cleveland. He was in Cleveland first, and then came to Chicago after 2 years. Maybe they were just flexing their psychic powers, though, because after the 1961 season, Minnie was traded to the Cardinals, sent to the Senators and finally, after 2 years away, 1964 saw him back with the White Sox, although he only made it into 30 games that season, almost exclusively as a pinch hitter. Midway through the year, he was released. His totals for the season were a .226 batting average, 1 home run and 5 RBI.

After his release from Chicago, Minnie spent the next few years bouncing around the Mexican League, earning him yet another nickname – “El Charro Negro” or “The Black Cowboy.” During that time, he played for the Orizaba Charros, the Jalisco Charros, the Puerto Mexico Portenos and the Puerto Penasco.

In 1976, he returned to the White Sox for 3 games. In 8 at-bats, he got a single, becoming the 2nd oldest player to hit safely in a Major League game. Minnie was 50 years old at the time. Jim O’Rourke was 54 when he picked up a base knock in 1904. He returned to the White Sox again in 1980 for 2 games. If he had gotten a hit, he would’ve overtaken O’Rourke as the oldest man to ever get a base hit, but alas, he went 0-2 in those 2 games. With those 2 plate appearances, however, Minnie played in a Major League game during the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Not surprisingly, the 1976 and 1980 comebacks were orchestrated by none other than Bill Veeck.

In 1990, Minnie tried to make an appearance with the Miami Miracle of the Florida State League, but Major League Baseball shot him down. In 1993 however, at the age of 67, he signed on with the independent St. Paul Saints for one day. He got one at-bat and made an out. Ten years later, at the age of 77, he got another plate appearance with the Saints, this time drawing a walk. I assume he was pinch run for after that.

Minnie was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame in 2002. His number 9 was retired by the White Sox in 1990.

With the addition of this card, I now have 351 out 572 cards from this set.

One Response to “The Quest for the 1960 Topps Set, Part XXVIII”

  1. Good to see Minoso on any card and interesting that his main photo shows those “TV friendly” shoulder numbers from 1950s White Sox uniforms. Wonder what year the black-and-white side shot came from? It’s unusually plain white.

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