Reaction to the death of Minnie Minoso

CHICAGO (AP) Reaction to the death of former Chicago White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso:

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''For South Siders and Sox fans all across the country, including me, Minnie Minoso is and will always be `Mr. White Sox.'

''The first black Major Leaguer in Chicago, Minnie came to the United States from Cuba even though he could have made more money elsewhere. He came up through the Negro Leagues, and didn't speak much English at first. And as he helped to integrate baseball in the 1950s, he was a target of racial slurs from fans and opponents, sometimes forced to stay in different motels from his teammates. But his speed, his power - and his resilient optimism - earned him multiple All-Star appearances and Gold Gloves in left field, and he became one of the most dominant and dynamic players of the 1950s.

''Minnie may have been passed over by the Baseball Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but for me and for generations of black and Latino young people, Minnie's quintessentially American story embodies far more than a plaque ever could.

''Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family and fans in Chicago, Cleveland, and around the world.'' - President Barack Obama.

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''I don't think he ever had an unhappy day, or at least if he did, he never let anybody know that he was unhappy. He was always upbeat. He always had a big smile. He always had something nice to say to somebody. He never hesitated to sign an autograph. He never hesitated to try and answer people's questions. He never complained. In the 35 years that I've known Minnie, he never complained about anything.'' - White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

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''He's just a special guy. For everybody that's been in here, he's been here. I know you need a representative, a face for past generations and he was that. He was a super nice guy. He was in all the time. He came to a lot of the games, stopped through, and it was his personality and his style. He was always upbeat. It's sad. It's sad for us any time you lose a guy like him. The fact that he wasn't in the Hall of Fame yet is sad too because he deserves to be in there.'' - White Sox manager Robin Ventura.

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''We lost a great baseball man and a real ambassador to the game. My dad talked to me about him all the time. He was a good person.'' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.

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''He was like a father for me. He always was around me. It's tough news for me today because I didn't expect it. I am sad today.'' - White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez.

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''He wanted to prove to everybody that he could come to the United States and play great baseball - not good baseball, great baseball. I wish I had one-third of his talent. He shared it with everybody. He was nonstop, happy man all the time.'' - Former White Sox outfielder Ron Kittle.

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''With the passing of Minnie Minoso, the City of Chicago has lost a legend on and off the field. He went from playing in the Negro leagues to reaching the very top of the major leagues, becoming the first African American to play for the White Sox in 1951. His heroics, combining speed and power, brought joy to generations of fans on the South Side and his infectious enthusiasm forever solidified his place as a Chicago icon for the ages. I send my deepest condolences to his family, his friends, and his legion of fans. Soon it will be spring, the Sox will take the field, and `The Cuban Comet' will be looming large in spirit. Thank you, Minnie for the many great memories.'' - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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''We are deeply saddened by the passing of Minnie Minoso. Having recently lost one of our all-time greats Ernie Banks, we share the heartache with the White Sox organization and fans everywhere who were blessed to enjoy the talent, heart and passion of Mr. White Sox. He will be forever known as an electric offensive player and great ambassador for the game of baseball.'' - Cubs owner Tom Ricketts.

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''There's no question that Minnie's value to the team was fantastic, not only at bat or in the field, but also with his camaraderie with the fans and different things he did, he was very essential to that ballclub doing as well as they did in the 50s.'' - former teammate Billy Pierce.

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