No one meant more to White Sox than Minoso

Circa 1955, Portrait of Cuban-born Chicago White Sox baseball player Orestes 'Minnie' Minoso
Orestes ‘Minnie’ Minoso

The very first time I went to Comiskey Park, Minnie Minoso homered. It was also while I watching a  game at Comiskey park.

In a way I was new to baseball. Although I played it in elementary school, I was neither very good at the game, nor was I very interested in it. Then my family moved the week after I finished fourth grade and week later my best friend, Jack, moved in down the street. Of course, he wasn’t my best friend, but he was going to be. Jack was crazy about baseball, especially the White Sox: Nellie Fox, Sherm Lollar, Jungle Jim Rivera, and Minnie Minoso.

By the time that summer was over and I began Fifth grade, I had also become a baseball fanatic. Not only that, but because it was about all we did in our spare time – catch and hit and play sandlot games in the park across the street, I became fairly good at it. The other kids were surprised when I slapped a single through the infield my first time up because I had never gotten a hit before.

The next summer I also saw my first baseball game. Jack’s father was a Cubs fan so he took us to see the Cubs play Cincinnati. The Cubs had the lead 7 – 5 going into the ninth inning, but lost it 8 – 7.

A couple months later Jack and I made plans to take a train into Chicago so we could see the Sox play a double-header. Although there was a train that could get us to Union Station just a few minutes after 11, we didn’t know how long it would take us to walk over to where we would catch the ‘L’ or subway train to get to 35th St. Plus we thought it would be more fun to get there early so we could check out the ballpark.

Unfortunately for us we didn’t know that the trains did not run on Sundays. We figured it out when it when the train was late and we took a good look at the schedule. We should have gone back home then and watched the train on TV. Instead we hiked up to Irving Park. Somehow Jack knew there was a bus that ran almost all the way out to Bensenville. What we didn’t know was the ‘almost’ in a car was a lot closer than the ‘almost’ hitchhiking. By the time we caught a ride it was almost 9:30 and it was a little after ten when we climbed aboard the bus. Still we had left so early that we managed to get to Comiskey with at least a half hour to spare.

The first game was a scoreless duel until Minoso stepped to the plate and crushed the ball, giving the Sox all the runs they would need for a 2 – 0 win over the Detroit Tigers. The next game was even more fun even though we left at the end of the fourth inning because it was getting late. We felt pretty safe in leaving because the Sox had a 7 – 1 lead and would go on to win it 8 – 2. Minoso went 4 – 5 including a triple, although we didn’t see it because we were already on our way home.

That was the day I went from being a ‘maybe a Cubs fan’ to being a ‘100%’ White Sox fan. Maybe it was Minoso’s home run that did it, but more likely it was it was the fun of sitting in a ballpark and seeing the home team win not one, but two games. Not only that but the Sox were only a half game behind Yankees for first place. The Sox were hot and life was good.

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