abc7ny.com file photo: The late Minnie Minoso who played in the majors breaking in the majors 1947 and retiring in 1980 playing mostly with the Chicago White Sox was born in Perico, Cuba is one of the subjects of That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary
2020 History Four Cubanos in the same Lineup
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
By Amaury Pi-González
Orestes (Minnie) Miñoso is a happy man, looking down from heaven at his Chicago White Sox. On Saturday August 1, 2020 the Chicago White Sox became the first team ever in history to field four (Cuatro) Cuban players in the same lineup; Luis Robert(CF), Yoan Moncada(3B) José Abreu(1B) and Yasmani Grandal(C). And as if it wasn’t enough, the starter was ex-A’s lefty Gio González, born in Miami of Cuban Immigrant parents.
Miñoso was a tutor to a young rookie Abreu as the young first-baseman told me during an interview while his team was in Oakland. José Abreu talked about Miñoso, with a lot of reverence and admiration.
Minnie has a Statue at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. That same year, (2014) Abreu won the American League rookie of the year as he batted .317 with 36 home runs and drove in 107 runs. In 2018 when the White Sox called Yoan Moncada to the major, Abreu didn’t wasted anytime.
Rick Hand, General Manager said as Abreu was the most famous Uber driver at the airport picking up his compatriota Moncada Their lead-off hitter is another Cuban defector, Luis Robert 22 years old, who signed with the team for a $25 million bonus. Robert said that he told his agent he wanted to play for the White Sox, and his wish became a reality.
Although Chicago is not Miami, New York or Los Angeles, the cities where the majority of Cubans reside in the US, this bunch seem to be happy playing in the Windy City and have their own click going, with little Cuban flags all in a row at their dressing room as they seem to enjoy each other’s company.
Cuba’s baseball tradition is historical and well documented. In 1954, a franchise was awarded to Havana, Cuba, where they played, until 1960 when political upheaval and Castro’s declaration of communism and elimination of all professional sports in the island forced the team to be moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, in the middle of the season.
That was in the famous AAA International League. Cuba was the only Latin American country, to-date- to ever be awarded a professional baseball franchise and in 1960 the Havana Sugar Kings/Jersey City Jerseys, were the only international team aside the Montreal Royals and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In 1923 Cincinnati Reds Cuban-born pitcher Adolfo Luque ended the season with a record of 27-8 with a 1.93 earned run average, pitched 322 innings started 37 games and completed 28 and threw 6 shutouts. He led the major leagues in wins and earned run average that year, and with 151 strikeouts finished second to Dazzy Vance.
The Cy Young Award was not given until the year 1956. Other Cuban-born players of white skin played, like Rene Monteagudo who played in the majors from 1938 to 1945. The first Latino manager of a major league team was Miguel Angel González in 193. 8 After coaching the St Louis Cardinals in 1934, four years later was named manager of the Cardinals on September 11, when Frankie Frisch was fired. González was originally a catcher.
The Chicago White Sox are a very good team, loaded with a nucleus of young talent, and these four Cubans are part of that. All four are regulars.
Stay well and stay tuned.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the vice president of the Major League Baseball Hispanic Heritage Musuem and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com