Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Baseball Analysts: Lederer: Happy Birthday, Minnie, No Matter Your Age

I sure wish I had a roster to see if Minoso was on that Cuban All-Star team that I used to shag/batboy/gofer for…

As good as Miñoso was, it seemed as if he was held back or overlooked throughout most of his career. As the first black player from Cuba, his MLB career may have been delayed by as many as a few years. Secondly, on May 1, 1951, Miñoso homered in his first at-bat in a White Sox uniform when he became the first black to break the color barrier in Chicago but another rookie by the name of Mickey Mantle slugged his first big-league home run in the sixth inning of the same game. Miñoso (.324/.419/.498 and 24 Win Shares) finished second to Yankees infielder Gil McDougald (.306/.396/.488, 23 Win Shares) in the Rookie of the Year balloting (although he was honored as TSN’s ROY) even though he outpolled him in the MVP vote (fourth place to ninth). He also had the misfortune of being traded from Chicago back to Cleveland two years before the Go-Go White Sox met the Dodgers in the 1959 World Series. Lastly, he played left field during the same decade as two of the greatest ever: Ted Williams and Stan Musial.

...We’ll never know what kind of counting totals Miñoso may have been able to amass had he played in the majors from the get go. But, let’s not forget, he had an exemplary career anyway.

Bill James, who listed Miñoso as the 10th-best left fielder and 85th-greatest player ever in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, put together a table of “the greatest players in history, based on Win Shares between ages 30 and 39, not including pitchers.” Miñoso ranked 16th and was the only player in the top 20 who has yet to be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Repoz Posted: November 29, 2008 at 11:50 PM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, negro leagues, special topics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Cuban X Senators Posted: November 30, 2008 at 02:33 AM (#3017568)
First black Latino? Hmm.
   2. RobertMachemer Posted: November 30, 2008 at 11:17 AM (#3017620)
Apparently I've been mispronouncing his name all this time. Min-yo-so? Not Min-no-so? Interesting.
   3. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 30, 2008 at 02:54 PM (#3017633)
Apparently I've been mispronouncing his name all this time. Min-yo-so? Not Min-no-so? Interesting.

Yeah, and you probably say "France" and "Germany" instead of "Frahhnnce" and "Deutschland," too. Shame on you. It isn't just Spanish names or places that get butchered by English-only speakers, but it seems that mispronunciation of Spanish names or places is the only sort of mispronunication that can get you the good old dirty look. And as much as "political correctness" is a way overused term, it's hard to think of any other explanation for this particular phenomenon.

Of course none of this little side rant has anything to do with Minoso, who should have been in the HoF long ago.
   4. Santanaland Diaries Posted: November 30, 2008 at 04:17 PM (#3017642)
I don't know that it is necessarily PC-ness. I think it's more that I wouldn't expect anyone to know any French or German, and since those don't come up much it's not an issue. But Spanish is so common and present that it just seems lazy not to learn a couple basic rules of pronunciation.

But really it doesn't bother me in the general population. Broadcasters, on the other hand, really should take the time to at least sort of pronounce players' names correctly.

But Robert, in this case it's not your fault at all, but rather that of typography; if his name were more commonly written Miñoso you probably would have picked up on the Min-yo-so pronunciation.
   5. Greg K Posted: November 30, 2008 at 04:20 PM (#3017643)
It's a treat watching Quebec franco-phone broadcasts of hockey games. The Anglo names stick out like sore thumbs...they're careful to pronounce them even more precisely than English speakers.

They even slow down their normally frenetic pace of speech to do a name as well. It's one of the many reasons I'm sad Michael Ryder isn't on the Canadiens anymore.


And while we're on native pronounciations.
Who decides which European cities get the native treatment?
Like...Turin is Turino
But Rome isn't Roma, no one calls Vienna Wien.

It seems recent too. My uncle was born and raised in Turin, and everyone in our family has called it Turin for as long as I can remember. Then all of sudden (around the time of the Olympics I guess) everything is Turino.
   6. BDC Posted: November 30, 2008 at 10:43 PM (#3017703)
It is unusual to see Minoso's name with the tilde, because even his autobiography doesn't print it that way. (Just Call Me Minnie, written with Herb Fagen, is available on Google Books.)
   7. Bruce Markusen Posted: December 01, 2008 at 12:13 AM (#3017727)
I don't believe that it was possible to include a tilde on most old American typewriters. That may have been the case with earlier versions of computer keyboards, too. Even now, I'm not sure how to put the tilde right above the letter N.

Minoso is one of those players who will always be penalized for having a split career between the Negro Leagues and the major leagues. Until the voters stop dividing his career between the two and start looking at his full biography, he's going to have trouble getting in. But he should be there. Excellent hitter, great baserunner, very good defensive outfielder.
   8. Dan Turkenkopf Posted: December 01, 2008 at 12:29 AM (#3017732)
Even now, I'm not sure how to put the tilde right above the letter N.


Not really germane to the topic of Minoso versus Miñoso, but if you're on a full-size PC keyboard, you can hold down the ALT key and type 164 on the number pad to get an ñ.
   9. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 01, 2008 at 12:31 AM (#3017733)
Minoso was one of the best all-around players in the AL from the moment he showed up. It only makes sense that an earlier start would have included more of the same.

And that's a HOF career.

Certainly a stronger case than many who get more press....
   10. Howie Menckel Posted: December 01, 2008 at 01:32 AM (#3017744)
Minnie snagged a Hall of Merit slot in his 18th try in the 1987 voting, the third of 3 electees (behind Kiner and Billy Pierce) in a year with no stellar newcomers.

more than 100 comments about his career, including "what he missed" early, at:
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/hall_of_merit/discussion/minnie_minoso

He's actually a little below the mid-point of our nearly 60 "Hall of Merit, not Hall of Fame" group that is led by Rose, Dahlen, Deacon White, Blyleven, Raines, Grich, Paul Hines, and Santo.

Minoso is in the ballpark with Sherry Magee, Stan Hack, Joe Gordon, and Bill Freehan.

And yes, we factored in all of his playing career.

So it's fine if he gets elected (even just based specifically on performance), but there are a lot of worse injustices out there.
   11. Justin T Posted: December 01, 2008 at 01:34 AM (#3017746)
Not really germane to the topic of Minoso versus Miñoso, but if you're on a full-size PC keyboard, you can hold down the ALT key and type 164 on the number pad to get an ñ.

Naturally.
   12. OCF Posted: December 01, 2008 at 01:51 AM (#3017751)
The Hall of Merit take on Saturnino Orestes Arrieta Miñoso Armas (as one source I have renders his name):

1. We generally accepted that he was born in 1925, not 1922, so that his major league career began at age 25, not 28.

2. While the general slow pace of integration did slow the beginning of his career, it might not have slowed it all that much. He was somewhat of a late bloomer and his actual minor league record does not show that he left a particularly high peak behind in the minors. The main focus of our evaluation of him was on his major league record.

3. During the heart of his career, the NL was a stronger league than the AL - primarily because the NL integrated faster than the AL.

4. We have a rule about "token appearances", which is that we ignore play below a certain usage threshold in determining the end of a career and hence the eligiblity date. Minoso has a string of token appearances which we ignored under this rule, as we considered 1964 to be his final season. Hence, he became eligible in our 1970 election.

5. He won some support, but not overwhelming support, in his first election and entered our backlog. While he was an eligible candidate, we elected a number of strongly-qualified first-ballot candidates, and a number of backlog candidates. The following backlog candidates earned election before Minoso: Bobby Doerr, Cool Papa Bell, Biz Mackey, Willard Brown, Joe Gordon, George Sisler, Jose Mendez, Joe Sewell, Rube Waddell.

6. In our 1987 election, we elected three candidates from the backlog: Billy Pierce, Ralph Kiner, and Minoso.

So when Harveys says "and that's a HOF career," we do agree. And when we went to rank our all-time left fielders, we ranked Minoso 18th out of the 22 LF in our hall. (Ranking 19th through 22nd: Charley Jones, Joe Medwick, Harry Stovey, Ralph Kiner.)

Bruce Markusen said: "Minoso is one of those players who will always be penalized for having a split career between the Negro Leagues and the major leagues." As I said above in #2, we think that most of Minoso's value is his major league value. For someone to whom that sentence more strongly applies, consider the person we have (tentatively) ranked 10th of our 22 left fielders: Monte Irvin.

Edit: Howie Menckel posted while I was composing this.
   13. OCF Posted: December 01, 2008 at 02:50 AM (#3017763)
The top five candidates in the 1954 AL MVP voting make for a spread of ethnicities that seems unusually varied for 1955: one Anglo-American, one Italian-American, one African-American, one (dark-skinned) Cuban, one Mexican. (You can find a couple of California-born Mexican-Americans lower down in the voting.)
   14. Steve Treder Posted: December 01, 2008 at 03:47 AM (#3017777)
A guy I've been campaigning for the HOF since, oh, about 1985 or so. The Hall of Merit done itself proud.

And regarding the pronunciation of his name: why not say Min-yo-so? Why not? "Because I never have before" or "because that's too hard" don't cut it.

It's the correct pronunciation, and every one of us native-English-speaking gringos can handle it.
   15. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 01, 2008 at 03:57 AM (#3017781)
And regarding the pronunciation of his name: why not say Min-yo-so? Why not? "Because I never have before" or "because that's too hard" don't cut it.

I don't disagree with that, and I'm a big fan of Bob Sheppard's diligence about that sort of thing, but then why not apply that same standard to every non-Anglo name? Do you do that yourself, and if not, why not? You can start with all those Scandinavian names in the midwest for practice, which often are pronounced very differently in the Old Country than they are here. (I could spend half my life trying to get everyone to give my last name of Moursund the full Norwegian respect [don't even ask], but life is too short as it is.)

And let's hear it for KOO-ba and CHEE-lay et Fraahhhnnnce und Deutschland while we're at it. Why not?
   16. OCF Posted: December 01, 2008 at 04:40 AM (#3017792)
There's always some issue. Witness Yao Ming's mostly successful campaign to keep his name in its Chinese order, which isn't all that common among Chinese or Korean athletes active in the U.S. (for instance, the guy who cleanup up on today's gimmick golf event, K.J. Choi.)

The names of towns or geographic features taken from other languages can be a real puzzle. Here's a Texas quiz: what's the local pronunciation of these four towns: Boerne, Weimar, San Felipe, and Refugio?
   17. Steve Treder Posted: December 01, 2008 at 05:55 AM (#3017812)
Do you do that yourself, and if not, why not?

As best I can, yes.

Of course it would be a ridiculous thing to do with American ballplayers of whatever heritage who pronounce their own last names in Americanized fashion, as I do with my own last name. But with foreign-born non-English-native speaking ballplayers -- as with anyone of such description in any walk of life -- it's nothing more or less than common courtesy to make a reasonable effort at pronouncing the name with some degree of fidelity.
   18. Santanaland Diaries Posted: December 01, 2008 at 06:02 AM (#3017815)
What Steve said. It comes down to making an effort to pronounce a person's name as s/he would pronounce it.

I get just as annoyed when someone gives Eric Chavez's name the Spanish pronunciation, with the accent on the first syllable, since he pronounces it in Anglicized fashion.
   19. Steve Treder Posted: December 01, 2008 at 06:18 AM (#3017816)
I get just as annoyed when someone gives Eric Chavez's name the Spanish pronunciation, with the accent on the first syllable, since he pronounces it in Anglicized fashion.

Yep.
   20. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 01, 2008 at 06:28 AM (#3017820)
There's an Anglicized way of pronouncing "Chavez"? I don't think I've ever heard anything except the normal way (that is...well..."CHA-vez") for any of the many prominent people and ravines named "Chavez".

I would cut people a break when they fail to divine which of the many possible Americanizations of a name happens to be the one favored by a certain person's family. I've known people named "Olszewski" who pronounced it at least three different ways.
   21. Steve Treder Posted: December 01, 2008 at 06:38 AM (#3017822)
There's an Anglicized way of pronouncing "Chavez"? I don't think I've ever heard anything except the normal way (that is...well..."CHA-vez") for any of the many prominent people and ravines named "Chavez".

The way the A's third baseman pronounces it is "Sha-VEZ," as distinct from the Spanish pronunciation "SHA-ves" (or "CHA-ves," depending upon the dialect).

I would cut people a break when they fail to divine which of the many possible Americanizations of a name happens to be the one favored by a certain person's family.

Of course, everyone deserves to be cut a break. But refusing to make the most basic effort at respecting the preferred pronunciation of a name is impolite.
   22. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 01, 2008 at 11:21 AM (#3017845)
Do you do that yourself, and if not, why not?

As best I can, yes.

Of course it would be a ridiculous thing to do with American ballplayers of whatever heritage who pronounce their own last names in Americanized fashion, as I do with my own last name. But with foreign-born non-English-native speaking ballplayers -- as with anyone of such description in any walk of life -- it's nothing more or less than common courtesy to make a reasonable effort at pronouncing the name with some degree of fidelity.


Again, I don't disagree with the sentiment, especially on a one-on-one basis when it comes to the pronunciation of an individual's name, and most specifically when the individual TELLS YOU how he would like it pronounced. And I'm like you, in that I almost have to think about how my father pronounced his name when he was talking to other Norwegians. In effect he simply accepted wihout protest the Anglicized pronunciation of Moursund that seemed to be the consensus of the Americans he met---MOR-sund rather than a sing-songy Mowr-OOS-und, which is how he'd pronounced it back home and in front of his embassy friends).

By the time I came along the Anglicized version had become second nature to him, and like all of his Norwegian friends, he never thought anything about it---it was just part of the price of the ticket. Perhaps if we'd had mass migrations of Scandinavians in our generation rather than long ago, he would have been making an issue of it, too.

The thing that does strike me as amusing / mildly irritating, though, is not the case of individuals. It's the way that a certain number of broadcasters, particularly on NPR, give us these perfect takes on the names of Spanish-speaking countries (KOO-ba and CHEE-lay, etc.), without making the slightest effort to do likewise for any other countries. I know that they're perfectly sincere, and I know where they're coming from (Spanish-speaking people in the U.S. vastly outnumber any other any other foreign language speaking group), but it's still about as perfect an encapsulation of the NPR stereotype as there is.

And on an only semi-facetious note, I'm sure as hell glad that the Poles and the Czechs went for the assimilationist model when they came over in big numbers. If nothing else, it's probably saved us a few hundred million wasted man-hours.
   23. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 01, 2008 at 01:38 PM (#3017859)
Olszewski


ohl-CHEF-ski
   24. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 01, 2008 at 01:42 PM (#3017861)
And on an only semi-facetious note, I'm sure as hell glad that the Poles and the Czechs went for the assimilationist model when they came over in big numbers. If nothing else, it's probably saved us a few hundred million wasted man-hours.


Heh. I don't know if it was intentional or a Vito Corleone type mishap, but on Ellis island in 1905 my family name went from Kubjda to Kubida and I am grateful. The latter was tough enough for my teachers.
   25. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 01, 2008 at 03:52 PM (#3017932)
it's nothing more or less than common courtesy to make a reasonable effort at pronouncing the name with some degree of fidelity.

Agreed, but in this case pronouncing it as if it didn't have the tilde isn't exactly an abomination unto the Lord.
   26. Steve Treder Posted: December 01, 2008 at 05:07 PM (#3017999)
in this case pronouncing it as if it didn't have the tilde isn't exactly an abomination unto the Lord.

And the next time anyone suggests it is will be the first.
   27. OCF Posted: December 01, 2008 at 05:47 PM (#3018043)
As a math professor and an amateur musician I wind up dealing frequently with European names in a European context. I don't expect pronunciation that's completely true to the original language - that's impossible, especially when it involves sounds that don't exist in English (as in the terminal consonant of Bach or the vowel in Hölder.) But I do try to hold out for getting the correct "ei" and "ie" sounds in Riemann and Leibniz, and I do pronounce Weierstrass with an initial "v" sound. I've always heard a pronunciation for Dvorak that has a "zh" sound at the beginning of the second syllable. Since I don't know anything about Czech pronunciation, I don't even know if that's right. Beethoven is familiar enough that his name doesn't get too badly butchered. And ah, yes, Euler. I always shudder a little when I hear a student say "yew-ler".
   28. Obama Bomaye Posted: December 01, 2008 at 06:35 PM (#3018094)
The names/pronunciation of foreign places/names is something I've wondered about in recent years. WHY do we call it Germany? If the name of the country is Deutschland, why don't we call it that? It's not hard to pronounce for American speakers. What does Germany even mean, how did we append that name to them? Why not leave Italy as Italia? It's a name; it's not supposed to be translated. Then there's the countries which use different alphabets and need to be transliterated, but it still seems we unnecessarily alter the pronunciation. Why do we say LebAnon when I believe it's really just Lebnon? Syria instead of Suria?
   29. OCF Posted: December 01, 2008 at 06:49 PM (#3018113)
One thing to note about cities: it seems that major and/or historically important cities get re-spelled in English: Rome, Florence, Turin, Venice, Cologne, Munich, Vienna, Warsaw, Moscow. I don't think the small towns of those countries get the same treatment.
   30. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 01, 2008 at 07:01 PM (#3018138)
I've always heard a pronunciation for Dvorak that has a "zh" sound at the beginning of the second syllable. Since I don't know anything about Czech pronunciation, I don't even know if that's right.

Funny, I've always heard Dvorak (the composer) pronounced with the "zh" sound, just as you have. But the 1930's actress Ann Dvorak always gets her name pronounced exactly as it's spelled in English, with no extra sounds added. I'd imagine that was for more or less the same reason that "Cyd Charisse" didn't stick with Tula Ellice Finklea, and "Cary Grant" didn't hang onto Archibald Leach.

But it's not as if foreigners can always make sense out of us, either. Just think of the travails of a tourist from abroad who grew up on reruns of Dallas---or even a tourist from Texas---who jumps in a New York cab and tells the driver to take him to Houston Street. Add the accent of the cabdriver to the mix and you would've had a readymade skit for Seinfeld.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
robneyer
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogDodgers pitcher David Price opts out of 2020 MLB season
(11 - 9:14pm, Jul 05)
Last: Barry`s_Lazy_Boy

NewsblogCleveland Indians look into changing name amid pressure
(115 - 9:09pm, Jul 05)
Last: Ron J

Newsblog31 MLB players, 7 staff test positive for COVID-19, or 1.2%
(15 - 8:10pm, Jul 05)
Last: puck

NewsblogYankees’ Masahiro Tanaka hit in head by Giancarlo Stanton line drive
(10 - 7:59pm, Jul 05)
Last: A triple short of the cycle

NewsblogEmpty Stadium Sports Will Be Really Weird
(6503 - 7:36pm, Jul 05)
Last: never forget: the pee tape is 57i66135

NewsblogWith baby on the way, Trout unsure if he'll play
(35 - 6:23pm, Jul 05)
Last: never forget: the pee tape is 57i66135

NewsblogFormer Phillies pitcher Tyson Brummett dies in plane crash in Utah
(1 - 5:07pm, Jul 05)
Last: puck

NewsblogAre there graves under Tropicana Field parking lots? Archaeologists want to find out
(6 - 5:06pm, Jul 05)
Last: Boxkutter

NewsblogOT Soccer Thread - Spring 2020
(361 - 4:01pm, Jul 05)
Last: Mefisto

NewsblogOT – NBA Revival Thread 2020
(463 - 1:37pm, Jul 05)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

NewsblogMLB teams can't identify players who test positive for coronavirus
(48 - 11:54am, Jul 05)
Last: Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome

Sox TherapyWarning: Actual Baseball Content
(23 - 8:12am, Jul 05)
Last: jacksone (AKA It's OK...)

NewsblogBill James: Why We Need Runs Saved Against Zero
(178 - 7:54pm, Jul 04)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

NewsblogAthletics To Trade Jorge Mateo To Padres
(10 - 7:35pm, Jul 04)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

NewsblogRob Manfred admits MLB never intended to play more than 60 games
(20 - 1:16pm, Jul 04)
Last: Sunday silence: Play Guess How long season lasts

-->

Page rendered in 0.4189 seconds
46 querie(s) executed