[Chicago Slices raw: Minnie Minoso at Old Comiskey Park home plate]

MINNIE MINOSO interviewed by Tom Weinberg at the original location of Comiskey Park's home plate at 35th and Bill Veeck Dr. Discusses his career and salary.

00:00Copy video clip URL Minnie Minoso walks out of the new Comiskey Park and talks about memories of old Comiskey Park. Audio signal weak.

01:38Copy video clip URL Audio signal improves. The videographer, Doug Sawyer, mentioned that he and Tom Weinberg recently recorded an interview with Jack Brickhouse (tapes 14124 and 14125) and that at one point Brickhouse reminisced about the first time he interviewed Minoso when he couldn’t understand his thick Cuban accent. Minoso good-naturedly says that even now it’s hard to understand him, his English isn’t too good. He says he still tries to improve. He believes a person must try to learn something new each day, in every aspect of life.

04:29Copy video clip URL Minoso says he used to smoke, but gave it up. He said he dominated himself. A person must have that kind of control to break a habit. He comments that life is beautiful if you know how to live it, control yourself.

07:06Copy video clip URL Minoso walks up to the spot where home plate was in old Comiskey Park, now the parking lot for new Comiskey Park. He talks about his first time up at bat as a Chicago White Sox player. It was against the Yankees, May 1, 1951. The Sox lost 4-2. His first time at bat he hit a home run, 435 feet. He says at that time only three others had hit that far. He comments that some people think 1951 was so long ago, but for Minoso it feels like yesterday.

09:11Copy video clip URL Minoso walks up to home plate. He notes that he used to take the street car to the homes games he played. He stands at the plate with a baseball bat. He reminisces about being at the plate during a game. He points out to Sawyer where his first home run went. Minoso notes that it was the first pitch of his first time at bat. The hit was off of Raschi. Minoso talks about an error he made at third base. Bases loaded, a ground ball hit his ankle and went into left field. Two runs scored, allowing the Yankees to win.

11:55Copy video clip URL Minoso notes that he played baseball in the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. He started with Cleveland in 1948, traded to Chicago in 1951. He talks about his teammates from 1951: Chico Carrasquel, Billy Pierce. He says he tried to be friends with everyone and not make enemies. He tells the story of how he was traded from Cleveland to Chicago.

15:00Copy video clip URL Minoso tells the story of taking the street car to home games. He lived on Maryland Avenue and the owner of the house he lived in brought him on the street car and came to collect him after the game. He comments that Chicago is his home now. He notes that one of his sons was born in Chicago, another in Cuba, a daughter born in Washington, DC, and another daughter born in Cuba. One daughter now lives in Evanston, the other in San Diego.

16:43Copy video clip URL How have you been able to play baseball in six decades? Minoso notes that he grew up on a ranch in Cuba, working hard in the fields. He says the love for the game of baseball, natural energy and ability from God. He notes that baseball players exist to put on a show for the crowd. Your job is to do a good job for the fans. He comments on his career in Mexico.

20:40Copy video clip URL Minoso says he played third base, left field, right field, center field, short stop and once as catcher. He played first base in spring training. He says every position is the hardest, but the hardest for him was right field. He says in Cleveland in 1949 he played right field. He talks about how a right handed hitter might hit a ball to right field so that it curves away from you. Once you learn that you don’t have any problems. Once you learn how to play the position you love it.

24:05Copy video clip URL Minoso tells story of how he kept getting his upper lip split. Once playing third base a bad hop hit his lip and split it. Nine stitches, but he continued to play. Another time, a catcher from New York ran to catch a foul ball and didn’t look where he threw his mask when he took it off. The mask reopened the cut lip. Again Minoso played despite the injury, even hitting a home run at bat. The last time, in the 1960s, he was hit by a pitch while at bat. The manager took him out of the game. But he played the next day. People couldn’t believe it, but Minoso commented, “This is my life!” He talks more about playing with injuries.

28:30Copy video clip URL Minoso talks about the people he played against. He tells a story about one pitcher who was vengeful. If you hit a line drive to him, the next time at bat he would purposely throw inside to try and hit you. Minoso says he never had a problem with anyone because he never went looking for trouble.

30:38Copy video clip URL Tom Weinberg comes in and says hello to Minoso. B-roll of Comiskey Park home plate as Minoso tells Weinberg he just came from San Diego playing for an international team with the Japanese.

31:28Copy video clip URL B-roll of Minoso’s bat, a commemorative listing his career accolades. He tells stories of two hits he made in San Diego. He says as a youngster he would switch hit. Weinberg comments that was 45 years ago. Minoso responds: “To you it might be, to me it’s yesterday!” He tells Weinberg the story of his first time at bat and the home run he hit. He notes that he still has the ball.

36:20Copy video clip URL Minoso notes that he never lived at the Piccadilly Hotel like some ball players did. He never liked the idea of living in a hotel. He preferred a home with family. He suggests maybe he would have gotten into trouble if he lived the bachelor’s life in a hotel.

37:26Copy video clip URL Minoso talks about where his children are living now and says that his one son used to be a good ball player but gave it up for religion. He notes their names and ages and comments that he has a son 4-and-a-half years old. He says, “If God gives you help, use it.” He half-jokingly comments that he wants a lo of Minosos left behind when he leaves.

41:41Copy video clip URL Weinberg and Minoso talk about a video shoot they had in 1977 at White Sox spring training in Florida. Minoso comments that while batting he would let the pitch hit him if it meant he could get on base and possibly score a run for his team.

43:55Copy video clip URL Weinberg reflects on his own childhood memories of seeing Minoso play in the 1950s and ’60s at old Comiskey Park. Minoso tells story of hitting a grand slam his first time back as a Chicago White Sox in the 1960s. He comments that the coach would buy a player a new suit each time he hit a home run.

47:25Copy video clip URL Minoso comments on the bat he’s holding, the one he hits with, is a 32 weight, 34.5 length. It’s a small bat. He notes he tried in 1957 to hit with a 36, but prefers 34. He tells the story of how Ted Williams told him to use his 36 during an All-Star Game, and tells of exciting plays he made in the field. He says the it took a long time for the American League to win an All-Star game after 1957.

50:59Copy video clip URL Minoso tells stories of the most interesting people in baseball including Bill Veeck, Charlie Comiskey. He says they are like part of his family.

53:40Copy video clip URL Minoso says Casey Stengel is a good man, always teased him. Frank Lane. He notes manager Paul Richards was like a father to him.

54:40Copy video clip URL B-roll of Minoso’s bat.

55:42Copy video clip URL While Minoso reminisces about teammates, Sawyer shoots b-roll of surrounding area.

57:09Copy video clip URL Weinberg talks about Minoso’s stats. Minoso remarks that his first year in Chicago he made $7,000. After becoming rookie of the year, he got a $10,000 raise and made $17,000 his second year. He says he doesn’t criticize players salaries today and thinks if the owners are going to make the offer, a player should take it.

01:00:52Copy video clip URL Weinberg comments that no other player hustled like Minoso or played with so much love for the game. Minoso says some players might have hustled as much as he did, but no one hustled more. He noted that he played with broken bones.

01:02:38Copy video clip URL Tape ends while Minoso is talking.

 

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