WPCNR VIEW FROM THE UPPER DECK. By Bull Allen March 2, 2015:
Minnie Minoso, the great Chicago White Sox outfielder who was the spirit of the great White Sox teams of the 1950s died Sunday. Essentially a forgotten man. No one on the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee has saw fit to put this great ballplayer into the Hall of Fame. However, he now has this poem which I wrote tonight. I remember you Minnie, you and Enos Slaughter the great old St. Louis Cardinal showed me how baseball should be played and a profession should be practiced. Minnie was a ballplayer’s ballplayer.
Senor Go Go
He first caught eyes of fans in the caverns of grand Cleveland Muncipal Stadium,
Racing madly across great expanses of the largest outfield in the Senior Circuit
Cutting off drives in the forever gaps of The Tribe’s Prairie condominium.
He was coal black, broad-shouldered, catching GAPPERS because he had no quit.
Big sweeping swing natural as an Eagle’s deadly dive
His promise to The Tribe was dealt by mad trader Lane to the South Side
Where he made confines of sweltering Old Comiskey Park come alive.
The kid from Cuba had so many names they called him Minnie, graceful as his stride.
He turned staid Pale Hose into the Go Go Sox
Seasoning with flash, dash, grit and hope.
After he came, they would steal games with a swipe of a bag, bunt shocks
Most feared in the new Hitless Wonders Lineup he’d deliver with timely “Rope.”
Spray hitter to all fields with big black bat, he’d make a single an automatic double
Fearing no arm he’d light out with blinding speed, melting down fiercest competitors
He had menace at the plate, even I at 11 years of age could tell here comes trouble.
Minnie Minoso was special. He led.Making mediocre great; great better, winners.
He was the Senior Circuit’s Wille Mays fans came to see.
You did not want him on third base in a tie game in the lates in the shadows of the day
A threat to steal anytime, fans awaited dash, launch to the plate, ballet fadeaway
The cloud of dust the suspension of muscular body airborne– cobra backstop sweep!
SAFE! The arbiter would signal. Cloud of dust rose, white in blazing Southside sun.
Catcher and skipper would argue. Minnie would always beat pitcher’s gun.
Hitting .300 for nine years, valiantly chasing the General Motors of baseball in thrilling races of the day
He saved a franchise, the Black DiMaggio showing there was no color in ball just great play.
The Commander, Bob Elson painted excitement in the Midwest night on WCFL.
WGN’s Jack Brickhouse’s “Hey, Hey” on Minnie’s homers on WGN, spun turnstile,
Filling both decks to see coal-faced Go-Go express roar down baselines pell-mell
He Gathered steam like the Broadway Limited rolling past Comiskey Park’s rightfield pavilion with style.
Last refuge from the New York Cubans in the old Negro Leagues, Minnie came to the Bigs sound.
A star from the start. Fans sweltering in the hot wind blowing through the Romanesque arches
Talked Number 9 – the Number I always associated with “The Big Hitter” to pitch around.
The guy who could take Whitey Ford and Early Wynn out. Get you off to a start or end it in the bleachers.
The palace at 15th and Shields is no more. The dash and determination of the Great Minoso–
Ghosts of greatness of the Romanesque Palace haunting the fans with his statue in the rotunda.
Those who saw him play, remember his abandon, his hustle, his espiritu.
Minnie Minoso made all he played with better, something every worker anywhere can engender.
Nelson Fox. Luis Aparicio. Jim Riviera, Jim Landis, Bubba Philips, Sherm Lollar, Torgy Torgeson
You and Minnie live on in the beautiful box of Old Comiskey Park where the grandstand shadows
Steamed in the 90 degree nightcaps, when Minnie sliding in tied or won it in fashion,
Saved one for Billy Pierce, Dick Donovan with a dazzler down in the corner shadow