Tag Archives: Bill Veeck

Minnie Minoso Remembered

Minnie Minoso – Speed, Power and Grace

White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso scores on a short pop fly hit by Nellie Fox. Kansas City Athletics catcher Haywood Sullivan tries to apply the tag,  The White Sox won this first game of a doubleheader 5-3. (Sept 20, 1961) photo: UPI

White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso scores on a short pop fly hit by Nellie Fox. Kansas City Athletics catcher Haywood Sullivan tries to apply the tag, The White Sox won this first game of a doubleheader 5-3. (Sept 20, 1961) photo: UPI

Months after the Chicago White Sox acquired Orestes “Minnie” Minoso in a three team trade from the Cleveland Indians in 1951, White Sox manager Paul Richards said, “Technically the deal helped everyone.

Minnie Minoso and Eddie Robinson examine Ted Williams bat

Minnie Minoso and Eddie Robinson examine Ted Williams bat

Actually we got the best of it. I wouldn’t trade Minoso for anyone in the league.”

Minnie Minoso and Castro 1958Minoso was a star in Cuba before coming over to the United States and he never forgot his Cuban roots.

Minoso was signed by Indians owner Bill Veeck after being alerted to his ability by Abe Saperstein, the Harlem Globetrotters impresario, who was always on the lookout for black baseball talent. Minoso had been with the Indians since 1949 but had only gotten into nine games in two years. By 1950 Veeck was out as Indians owner, forced to sell the team to fund his divorce. The new owners considered Minoso expendable. That decision possibly cost the Indians several pennants throughout the 1950’s.

In his rookie season in 1951 Minoso batted .326 and led the league in stolen bases with 31 and triples with 14. In his career Minoso batted over .300 in eight seasons and had one unusual statistic – he led the league in being hit by pitches ten times. Minoso ran the bases with abandon and fielded as gracefully as any player in baseball.

When he retired in 1964 Minnie Minoso’s career average was .298 and he had hit 186 home runs while driving in 1023 runs.

Bill Skowron, Minnie Minoso Nellie Fox and Mickey Mantle July 24 1957 photo: AP

Bill Skowron, Minnie Minoso Nellie Fox and Mickey Mantle July 24 1957 photo: AP

Minoso died Sunday, March 1, 2015 at a gas station in Chicago after suffering a tear in his pulmonary artery, at the age of either 90 or 92. There had always been some doubt to the Cuban star’s actual age.

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One Of The Greatest Pitching Performances Ever

49 Years Ago, Satchel Paige Shut Out The Red Sox For Three Innings. 

No Big Deal, Except That He Was 59

Satchel Paige, age 59 warming up on September 13, 1965  two weeks before facing the Red Sox photo: AP

Satchel Paige, age 59 warming up on September 13, 1965 two weeks before facing the Red Sox photo: AP

To hold “a day” for a ballplayer years after he last played in the major leagues is a special treat for the player. What makes it even more special is when the player participates in the game.

Forty nine years ago on September 25, 1965, Satchel Paige stepped on to the field at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium on Satchel Paige Night as the starting pitcher for the Kansas City Athletics. It was supposed to be a publicity stunt conceived by Athletics owner Charlie Finley to boost attendance, but Paige took his pitching seriously and would not be embarrassed.

Paige considered by many to be the Negro League’s best pitcher for over two decades, came to the Major Leagues when he was 42-years-old in 1948 when he was signed by Indians owner Bill Veeck.

Paige went 6-1 with a 2.48 ERA that year and helped Cleveland win the pennant. Paige stayed in the majors until he was 46 and continued playing in the minors and barnstorming into the early 1960’s.

At Satchel Paige Night, Charlie Finley had provided a rocking chair for Paige to sit in before the ball game began and a nurse was stationed next to Paige to massage him and keep his arm loose.

The visiting Boston Red Sox did not lay down for Paige. They tried, but the crafty 59-year-old was not going to let a bunch of kids show him up on his own night.

In the first three innings the Red Sox managed to get a runner on with an error and a double by Sox star Carl Yastrzemski.

At the beginning of the fourth inning with the A’s winning one to nothing, Paige went to the mound Continue reading

Roger Maris Hits His 61st Home Run

October 1, 1961, A Home Run Record Is Set & Baseball Blows Its Big Moment

Roger Maris emerges from the dugout to tip his cap after hitting his 61st home run of the season. October 1, 1961

Roger Maris emerges from the dugout to tip his cap after hitting his 61st home run of the season. October 1, 1961

52 years ago today, on the last day of the regular season October 1, 1961, Roger Maris hit his 61st home run of the season off of the Red Sox hurler Tracy Stallard in the fourth inning. For those who were fortunate enough to be there, it was a great moment in baseball history.

Unlike many of today’s players who will take a curtain call without any prodding for driving in the go-ahead run, Maris had to literally be pushed out of the dugout to acknowledge the 23,154 cheering fans at Yankee Stadium.

So why were there only 23,154 fans to see Babe Ruth’s record eclipsed?

That has to do with former sportswriter and then baseball Commissioner, Ford Frick who was a great friend of Babe Ruth and his ghost-writer.

Frick had declared that an asterisk be placed next to any home run record set, if it was not accomplished in 154 games, which was the number of games Ruth played in 1927 when he set his home run mark at 60.

Legendary baseball owner Bill Veeck tells this scathing and hilarious story in his wonderful memoir, Veeck as in Wreck written with Ed Linn (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) 1962.

Let us be fair. Ford Frick does not try to do the wrong thing. Given the choice between doing something right or something wrong, Frick will usually begin by doing as little as possible. It is only when he is pushed to the wall for a decision that he will always, with sure instinct, and unerring aim, make an unholy mess of things.

Suppose that, purely as an exercise, I had put the following baseball question to you at any time during the past twenty-five years.

Suppose, starts the question, that someone comes along to challenge Babe Ruth’s record- which is THE record the same way Mt. Everest is THE mountain. Continue reading