01/14/2008 4:53 PM -
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum honored the best in Major League Baseball for 2007 Saturday night at the Gem Theater in the 18th and Vine district in Kansas City, Missouri.
Minnie Minoso, former Negro League and Major League great, was honored with this year’s Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award for career excellence in the Face of Adversity. The Cuban native spoke about how great America is and how fortunate he was to be able to play in both the Negro Leagues and the Major Leagues. Minoso left Cuba in search of the “American Dream” and joined the New York Cubans of the Negro Leagues where he played for three seasons leading the Cubans to a Negro Leagues Championship in 1947. In 1949 he was signed by the Cleveland Indians to a Major League contract before being traded to the White Sox, where he became the first black player in franchise history.
“When Jackie broke the color barrier, it gave us all hope,” said Minoso in a statement. “He opened the door for everybody. Today’s African-American and Latin-American baseball players are fortunate to follow in the footsteps of those who came before them.”
Others honored in attendance included:
Others honored who will be presented with their award either at their parks on opening day or on their next visit to Kansas City:
Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies – National League MVP
The late Larry Whiteside, formerly of the Kansas City Kansan and Boston Globe, was also honored with the Sam Lacy Award for Baseball Writer of the Year.
The ceremony closed with a musical performance by “After 7.”