Minnie Miñoso, the first black Latino to play major league baseball in the United States and a major figure in the history of the Chicago White Sox, died Sunday in Chicago at the age of 89.
According to reports, authorities found him dead in the driver's seat of his car early Sunday.
The former star known as the Cuban Comet died of a tear in his pulmonary artery caused by “chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” an autopsy revealed.
"For Minnie, every day was a reason to smile, and he would want us all to remember him that way, smiling at a ballgame," his family said in a statement.
Miñoso was born in the town of Perico, Cuba, near Havana. After beginning his career in Cuba, he joined the Negro Leagues in 1946, the baseball league in the United States predominantly for African-Americans, before signing with MLB’s Cleveland Indians. While also playing for St. Louis and Washington in his career, Miñoso will be most remembered for his 12 years with the Chicago White Sox, where he earned the majority of his seven All-Star nominations.
Miñoso was a key figure in the process of racial integration in Major League Baseball during the 1950s. While he was named to the White Sox All-Century Team in 2000, he has never been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.