Chicago (AFP) - Hundreds of fans paid their last respects to baseball pioneer Minnie Minoso, the Chicago White Sox slugger who was Major League Baseball's first black Latino star.
Minoso died last Saturday at the age of 90 of a tear in his pulmonary artery.
Known as the "Cuban Comet," he was part of a generation of black players who transformed the major leagues.
Speaking at Minoso's funeral on Saturday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke of the player's legacy and the obstacles he faced in the 1950s.
"He (answered) the way he knew how," Emanuel said. "With his bat, with his glove, with his speed and with his smile."
Signed by Cleveland in 1949, Minoso was acquired by the White Sox in 1951, becoming the first black major league player for a Chicago team.
In his first at-bat for the White Sox, he homered against New York Yankees right-hander Vic Raschi.
Minoso, whose full name was Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso, went on to spend 12 of his 17 seasons with the White Sox.
A nine-time All-Star, Minoso played most of his career in the outfield and was a lifetime .298 hitter with 336 doubles, 83 triples, 186 home runs and 1,023 runs batted in.
He won three Gold Glove awards, led the American League in triples and stolen bases three times and topped the AL in doubles once.
Saturday's church service ended with an upbeat chorus of "Take me Out to the Ballgame."
The classic ballpark tune was a fitting sendoff for a man who once said he hoped to be playing baseball when he died.
"It was almost like he played forever, because when we lost, he lost," said White Sox Hall of Famer Frank Thomas. "We're all going to miss Minnie."