Chicago White Sox legend Minnie Miñoso will be honored with the Roberto Clemente Award for Sports Excellence by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) at the organization's Annual Conference Awards Gala on Tuesday, July 23 in New Orleans.
Each year, the NCLR board of directors presents the Roberto Clemente Award for Sports Excellence, named in honor of the Hall of Fame Puerto Rican outfielder, to an individual or organization celebrated in the sports industry, as well as dedicated to the advancement of Hispanic Americans. This year's keynote speaker at the organization's annual gathering is First Lady Michelle Obama.
Miñoso, nicknamed "The Cuban Comet," was a trailblazer for integration upon becoming the Major League's first black Latino. Signed as an amateur free agent in 1948 by the Cleveland Indians, Miñoso cemented his place in baseball history when he joined the White Sox in 1951, becoming the first black baseball player on the team and in the city of Chicago. Later that season, Miñoso would also become the first black Latino player to appear in an All-Star Game.
Prior to joining Major League Baseball, Miñoso played professional baseball in his native Cuba before departing to play for the New York Cubans in the Negro National League. During three seasons in the Negro Leagues, Miñoso helped the Cubans win a pennant and obtained two All-Star selections.
Over the course of his first 10 years in the Majors, Miñoso ranked in the American League's top 10 in on-base percentage nine times, batting average eight times, slugging percentage six times and RBI five times. He was a seven-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove recipient.
Miñoso holds an impressive .298 career batting average and a career on-base percentage of .389. His number 9 was retired by the White Sox in 1983 and a sculpture of his likeness was unveiled on the concourse of U.S. Cellular Field in 2004.
Today, Miñoso remains a fixture at the ballpark and continues to serve as a community relations ambassador for the White Sox.