02/07/2003 1:42 pm ET
Minoso went with gut in '57 classic
Minoso thrived in Negro Leagues
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CHICAGO -- Minnie Minoso, whose Major League career spanned 17 seasons and five decades, is one of 26 players, managers, umpires and executives nominated for induction into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Leading up to the committee's announcement on Feb. 26, Minoso and MLB.com will present a weekly series, offering a unique perspective on his life, from his childhood in Cuba to the Negro Leagues and, finally, in the Major Leagues. In this installment, Minoso, who played in seven All-Star Games (1951-54, 1957, 1959-60) recalls his "greatest moment in the All-Star Game."
In 1957, I played in the All-Star Game at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. In the eighth inning, (manager) Casey Stengel put me in left field, replacing Ted Williams.
We scored two runs in the ninth to go up, 5-2. There was a man on second base when I came to bat in the ninth.
They used to give you two bats with your name on them at the All-Star Game, so you wanted to save at least one. I didn't want to break mine, so Ted told me to use one his bats.
I hit a deep drive to the wall, but I gave a little bit of a "Cadillac" and barely made it to second base, making the score, 6-2.
(The National League) then scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to cut our lead to one run. I threw out a runner at third for the second out of the inning before Gil Hodges came to bat with the tying run on second.
I played toward the line a little bit, but Stengel motioned me to go back where I was. Right before the pitch, I moved back to where I wanted to be. (Hodges) hits a line drive over third and I made a running catch for the final out of the game.
Stengel comes over to me and asks, "Hey, Minoso, did you move back after I moved you?" I said yeah and he just laughs, saying, "You made a hell of a play."
That was a great moment for me in the All-Star Game. That was also the year I won my first Gold Glove. I was the first left fielder to win a Gold Glove.
Minoso collected three Gold Glove Awards (1957, 1959-60) after Rawlings Sportings Goods and The Sporting News introduced the award in 1957.
Despite being officially listed as having been born Nov. 29, 1922, Minoso was actually born on that date three years later in 1925, making him 77 years old. He still lives on the Chicago's South Side, near Comiskey Park, where he immediately endeared himself to all White Sox fans with his heart and determination on the field.
Minnie Minoso's first-person account appears as told to Damon P. Young, an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.