Hey there Kickstarter,
I’m Daniel Shapiro, a documentary journalism student at the Missouri School of Journalism and director of The Cuban Comet.
The Cuban Comet is a documentary celebrating the life and legacy of Orestes “Minnie” Minoso, the first Afro-Latino player in major league baseball. Minoso is one of baseball’s unsung trailblazers – he’s been described to me in interviews as the Jackie Robinson of Latino players, setting the stage for Hall of Famers such as Roberto Clemente and Tony Perez.
And not only was Minoso a trailblazer, but much like Robinson he was an instant star. On the field, his contemporaries included legendary players such as Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, and Willie Mays. Off the field, Chicago’s first black major leaguer was easy to love with his infectious smile and larger-than-life personality.
In recent years, there has been a push to get Minoso inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, with current ball players, broadcasters, historians and Hall of Famers all agreeing he should be enshrined in Cooperstown.
To be honest, there might not be a better time than now in 2017 to tell the story of a black, Spanish-speaking immigrant playing America’s pastime in one of its greatest cities.
I had the pleasure of meeting Minnie once when I was in high school and I was absolutely star struck by him. His son is one of my father’s co-workers and he agreed to meet us before a White Sox game, just to talk baseball. We talked for a half an hour about his career, about how he was one of the reasons my dad grew up a Sox fan in a family that bled Cubbie blue and how special the White Sox winning the World Series in 2005 was for all of us. As we left, he told us we were now a part of his family.
As I’ve learned over the years, many Sox fans became a part of Minnie’s extended baseball family. Seemingly everyone has a story about meeting him at a game, at an event, at a baseball camp.
With an impact on the game that can be felt from Havana to Chicago, The Cuban Comet, which was one of Minoso’s nicknames, will explore Minoso’s legacy.
The film is being produced by Method M films, the film company behind the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism. The great part about that is that production costs are extremely low – with access to gear and production software in journalism school.
The downside to that is an extremely miniscule, out-of-pocket budget to costs for travel to conduct interviews in places such as Chicago, Arizona during Spring Training and Cuba. Other expenses include acquiring usage rights to historical content such as photographs.
So please consider donating and pick up a few perks listed below. If we meet our goal, I’m confident we’ll be able to tell Minnie’s story in the best way possible and ideally push The Cuban Comet into the Hall of Fame.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge in making The Cuban Comet is getting the necessary amount of visuals to fully tell Minnie Minoso's story in an engaging way, especially because he played in a time before every baseball game was broadcast on TV.
There isn't much free content floating out there, so we've been thinking outside the box in our efforts to get The Cuban Comet made. The film will end up combining a massive amount of different visuals - archival video and photographs, book passages, newspaper clippings, animation footage shot on location and original interviews.
Over the past year, plenty of research has gone into going about acquiring this footage. As a student project, I've been in conversations to get some visual content for free, especially since there will be no profit on the film. Other content I've had to pay for out-of-pocket to secure the rights to.
To really solidify Minoso's legacy, interviews needed to be conducted both in and outside of Chicago. This has led me to the Negro League Baseball Museum, the homes of famous sportswriters and major league baseball fields to get interviews done. There are still more to come, with travel plans to Spring Training in Arizona, Cuba, Cooperstown, and various other locations.
The final part of this task is getting plenty of footage at every location I go to. In Cuba, Minnie's home has become a museum dedicated to him. Minoso's negro league home, Hinchliffe Stadium, still stands to this day. By bringing the viewer along on the journey, they'll truly experience the extent of Minoso's legacy.
I'm ready and able to get all of the necessary visuals to tell Minnie's story, but I'll need help from the Kickstarter audience to make that a reality. Traveling across the country to conduct interviews and shoot footage isn't cheap but it won't deter me from getting where I need to go - be it by train, car, flight or bus.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)