I don’t understand why Minoso wasn’t elected to the hall of fame. His Negro League stats show he was ready a lot early in his career then when he came up. Minoso started playing in 1946 at the age of 20 in the Negro Leagues. He was below average player that year but didn’t play too bad for a player of 20. He knew how to take a walk but didn’t have a lot of power.
The next year he had a lot of improvement. He doubled the number of doubles and triples he hit. I would say at this time in his development he was borderline at worse. In 1948 he made more improvement. It wasn’t as dramatic, but he had better stats. He signed a contract with Cleveland late in the season and went to A ball. He hit .525 in 11 games so there was no point in sending him back there.
In 1949 he played in the Pacific Coast League. He hit .297. and slugged .483, which showed he could play in the majors. He came up for a cup of coffee at the end of the season. He had 20 plate appearances and didn’t hit too well. However, it was only 20 plate appearances. He also had an on-base percentage of .350 which isn’t bad.
However, he spent 1950 in the Pacific Coast League. The outfield was the same for Cleveland both years. They had Larry Doby in center, Bob Kennedy in right and Dale Mitchell in left. Kennedy was the worse hitter and certainly proved he wasn’t a great player, but maybe Cleveland didn’t want Minoso in right. Maybe because in addition to one black player in the outfield, the Indians had Luke Easter, a black player, at first. Maybe they didn’t want too many black players at the beginning of their lineup. Anyway, they traded Minoso towards the beginning of the 1951 season where he became a regular with the White Sox.
I would say Minoso was ready to come to the Major Leagues in 1948. With 3 additional years he would have had career statistics to be an easy hall of famer. That is one reason I don’t mind giving Minoso a Pioneer bonus that helped him make my hall of fame.
However, that is not the only reason. Player like Minoso, Robinson and Clemente, among others, were doing more than playing a game. They were showing that people of different skin colors could get along and accomplish something together. More than that they helped prove that they could respect and love each other. In 1976 at the age of 50 the White Sox gave Minoso 8 at bats in 3 games. Minoso hit a single to become the oldest player to get a hit in a Major League game. At least he was at the time. He also got another two plate appearances 4 years later. This was not a random thing. Minnie Minoso was loved and respected that is why this happened.