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Luis Aparicio
Luis Aparicio, 70CWS.png
Aparicio in his second stint with the White Sox.
Born: (1934-04-29) April 29, 1934 (age 87)
Maracaibo, Venezuela
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 17, 1956, for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 1973, for the Boston Red Sox
MLB statistics
Batting average.262
Home runs83
Runs batted in791
Stolen bases506
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Vote84.62% (sixth ballot)

Luis Ernesto Aparicio Montiel (born April 29, 1934), nicknamed "Little Louie", is a Venezuelan former professional baseball player who is notable for being the first Venezuelan player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.[1] He played as a shortstop in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1956 to 1973, most prominently for the Chicago White Sox with whom he became known for his exceptional defensive and base stealing skills.[1][2]

Aparicio won the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year Award in 1956. He helped the "Go-Go" White Sox win the AL championship in 1959 and was the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) runner-up that season (he led the AL in stolen bases, putouts, assists, and fielding as shortstop). He was an AL All-Star for ten seasons,[3][a] an AL stolen base leader for 9 consecutive seasons, and an AL Gold Glove winner for 9 seasons.[4][5]

MLB legend Ted Williams called Aparicio "the best shortstop he had ever seen".[6] He was nominated for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team (100 greatest players) in 1999.[7]

Early life

Aparicio was born in Maracaibo, Zulia State, Venezuela.[2] His father, Luis Aparicio Sr., was a notable shortstop in Venezuela and owned a Winter League team with Aparicio's uncle, Ernesto Aparicio.[8] At the age of 19, Aparicio was selected as a member of the Venezuelan team in the 1953 Amateur World Series held in Caracas.[2] He signed to play for the local professional team in Maracaibo alongside his father in 1953. In a symbolic gesture during the team's 1953 home opener, his father led off as the first hitter of the game, took the first pitch, and had Aparicio Jr. take his place at bat.[2]

Major league career

Chicago White Sox (1956–1962)

The Cleveland Indians had been negotiating to sign Aparicio, but Indians General Manager Hank Greenberg expressed the opinion that he was too small to play in the major leagues.[2] Chicago White Sox General Manager Frank Lane, on the recommendation of fellow Venezuelan shortstop Chico Carrasquel, then signed Aparicio for $5,000 down and $5,000 in first year salary.[9] After only two years in the minor leagues, he made his major league debut at the age of 22, replacing Carrasquel as the White Sox shortstop in 1956.[2] Aparicio would lead the American League in stolen bases, assists, and putouts, and won both the Rookie of the Year and The Sporting News Rookie of the Year awards.[4][10][11] He was the first Latin American player to win the Rookie of the Year award.[2]

Aparicio quickly became an integral member of the Go-Go White Sox teams of the mid-1950s, who were known for their speed and strong defense. Over the next decade, Aparicio set the standard for the spray-hitting, slick-fielding, speedy shortstop.[8] He combined with second baseman Nellie Fox to become one of the best double play combinations in major league baseball.[12][13] Aparicio once again led the American League in stolen bases and assists in 1957 as the White Sox would hold first place until late June before finishing the season in second place behind the New York Yankees.[12][14]

In 1958, Aparicio earned recognition as one of the top shortstops in major league baseball when he was selected to be the starting shortstop for the American League in the 1958 All-Star Game.[15] The White Sox would once again finish the season in second place behind the Yankees, after being in last place on June 14.[16] Aparicio again led the league in stolen bases, assists and putouts, and would win his first Gold Glove Award.[4][17]

Aparicio was the team leader when the "Go-Go" White Sox won the American League pennant in 1959, finishing the regular season five games ahead of the Cleveland Indians.[18] Aparicio finished the runner-up to team-mate Nellie Fox in the American League Most Valuable Player Award balloting.[19] He was selected as a starting All-Star for the second time and also won a second Gold Glove award.[20][21] He posted a .308 batting average in the 1959 World Series as the White Sox were defeated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in a six-game series.[22] When Aparicio stole 50 bases in his first 61 attempts in 1959, the term "Aparicio double" was coined to represent a walk and a stolen base.[23] Following the death of teammate Johnny Romano, Aparicio became the last surviving player to play with the White Sox in the 1959 World Series.

In 1960 and 1961, Aparicio continued to be one of the top shortstops in the American League, finishing at or near the top in fielding percentage and assists. In 1962, he showed up overweight and had an off year and the White Sox offered him a reduction in salary for the 1963 season.[24] An enraged Aparicio said that he would quit rather than accept a decrease in pay and demanded to be traded.[24] The White Sox eventually traded him to the Baltimore Orioles with Al Smith for Hoyt Wilhelm, Ron Hansen, Dave Nicholson and Pete Ward in January 1963.[25]

Baltimore Orioles (1963–1967)

Aparicio in 1966
Aparicio in 1966

Aparicio regained his form in Baltimore and continued to lead the league in stolen bases and in fielding percentage, producing a career-high .983 fielding percentage in 1963.[4] Together with Brooks Robinson and Jerry Adair, he was part of one of the better defensive infields in baseball.[26][27] In 1964, he would lead the league in stolen bases for a ninth consecutive year and win his sixth Gold Glove Award.[4][28] Aparicio posted a .276 batting average with 182 hits in 1966, tied with teammate Frank Robinson for the second-most hits in the league behind Tony Oliva and won a seventh Gold Glove Award as the Orioles clinched their first American League pennant.[29][30][31] He finished ninth in the American League Most Valuable Player Award balloting and helped the Orioles sweep the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1966 World Series.[32][33]

Chicago White Sox (1968–1970)

With the emergence of Mark Belanger at shortstop, Aparicio was traded back to the White Sox along with Russ Snyder and John Matias for Don Buford, Bruce Howard and Roger Nelson on November 29, 1967.[34] He continued to play well defensively, leading the league in range factor in 1968 and 1969.[4] Aparicio had his best overall offensive season in 1970, scoring 86 runs and finishing fourth in the American League batting race with a career-high .313 average.[4] In addition, he earned his eighth All-Star berth that year, as well as his ninth Gold Glove.[35][36] Despite the White Sox finishing in last place, Aparicio finished 12th in the 1970 American League Most Valuable Player Award balloting.[37][38]

Boston Red Sox (1971–1973)

After three seasons with the White Sox, Aparicio was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Luis Alvarado and Mike Andrews on December 1, 1970.[39] In 1971, Aparicio was one at bat from tying the longest Major League hitless streak for non-pitchers held by Bill Bergen with 45, set in 1909 with Brooklyn Superbas, by going without a hit in 44 at bats.[40] Aparicio then hit a grand slam home run against the Indians in Cleveland and then led off a night game at Fenway with another home run.[41] He hit only .232 for the year, the second lowest average in his career.[4]

In 1972, Aparicio made a late-season base running blunder that contributed to the Red Sox losing the 1972 American League Eastern Division title by a half-game to the Detroit Tigers.[42] In an October 2 game against Detroit, Aparicio fell while rounding third base on an apparent triple by Carl Yastrzemski, leading to Yastrzemski being tagged out as he tried to retreat to second base.[43] In his last year as an active player in 1973, Aparicio would hit for a .271 average and steal his 500th base, against the New York Yankees, on July 5.[44] He retired at the end of the season at the age of 39.[4]

Career statistics

Aparicio played for 18 major league seasons in 2,599 games, accumulating 2,677 hits in 10,230 at bats for a .262 career batting average along with 394 doubles, 83 home runs, 791 runs batted in, 1,335 runs and 506 stolen bases.[4] He ended his career with a .972 fielding percentage.[4] Aparicio led American League shortstops eight times in fielding percentage, seven times in assists, and four times in range factor and putouts.[4] He led the American League in stolen bases in nine consecutive seasons (1956–1964) and won the Gold Glove Award nine times (1958–1962, 1964, 1966, 1970).[4][45][46] Aparicio was also a ten-time (ten seasons) All Star[4][47] (1958–1964, 1970–1972); he was named to 13 out of 14 All-Star Games (MLB held two All-Star Games from 1959 through 1962), and was the starting shortstop in six All-Star games and played in 10 games (he didn't play in the second All-Star game in 1960 and was injured and replaced in the 1964 and 1972 games and didn't play).

Luis Aparicio's number 11 was retired by the Chicago White Sox in 1984.

At the time of his retirement, Aparicio was the all-time leader for most games played, assists and double plays by a shortstop and the all-time leader for putouts and total chances by an American League shortstop.[1] His nine Gold Glove Awards set an American League record for shortstops, that was tied by Omar Vizquel in 2001.[46] He tied the record of most seasons leading the league in fielding average by shortstops with 8, previously set by Everett Scott and Lou Boudreau.[48]

His 2,583 games played at shortstop stood as the Major League record for that position from his retirement in 1973 until May 2008, when it was surpassed by Omar Vizquel.[48] His 2,677 hits was also the major league record for players from Venezuela, until it was surpassed by Omar Vizquel on June 25, 2009.[citation needed] His 2,673 hits as a shortstop was a record until Derek Jeter broke it on August 17, 2009.[citation needed] He had 13 consecutive seasons with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and an on-base percentage less than .325, a major league record (His career OBP was slightly better than the shortstop average during his era; .311 vs .309). A more impressive streak was his 16 straight seasons with more than 500 plate appearances, tied for fifth best in major league history. Aparicio never played any defensive position other than shortstop.[49]

  • AL leader in at bats (1966)
  • AL leader in singles (1966)
  • AL leader in sacrifice hits (1956, 1960)
  • AL leader in stolen bases (1956–1964)
  • AL leader in putouts as shortstop (1956, 1958, 1959, 1966)
  • AL leader in fielding average as shortstop (1959–1966)

Awards and honors

In bronze, shortstop Aparicio waits for the baseball being flipped from teammate Nellie Fox.
In bronze, shortstop Aparicio waits for the baseball being flipped from teammate Nellie Fox.

Aparicio was inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, the first native of Venezuela to be honored.[1] The Chicago White Sox also retired Aparicio's uniform number 11 that year. In 2010, the White Sox gave number 11 to shortstop Omar Vizquel, with Aparicio's permission. Vizquel said that wearing the number would preserve the name of a great Venezuelan shortstop. Aparicio commented, "If there is one player who I would like to see wear my uniform number with the White Sox, it is Omar Vizquel. I have known Omar for a long time. Along with being an outstanding player, he is a good and decent man."[50]

Aparicio in 1995.
Aparicio in 1995.

In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included Aparicio in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. In 1999, The Sporting News did not include him on their list of The Sporting News list of Baseball's 100 Greatest Players, but Major League Baseball did list him as one of their 100 nominees for their All-Century Team.[7]

The 2001 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was dedicated jointly to Aparacio, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, and Tony Perez. They, along with Ferguson Jenkins, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to end the player introduction ceremonies.

In 2003, Aparicio was inducted into the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.[51]

In 2005, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Game 1 of the 2005 World Series, the first World Series game to be played in Chicago by the Chicago White Sox since the 1959 World Series, when Aparicio had been the starting shortstop for the White Sox.[52]

In 2004, the first annual Luis Aparicio Award was presented to the Venezuelan player who recorded the best individual performance in Major League Baseball, as voted on by sports journalists in Venezuela.

In honor of Aparicio's stealing abilities, a walk and a stolen base was known as an "Aparicio double"[53]

In 2006, two bronze statues, one depicting Aparicio, the other depicting former White Sox second baseman Nellie Fox, were unveiled on the outfield concourse of U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Fox's statue shows him flipping a baseball toward Aparicio, while Aparicio's statue shows him preparing to receive the ball from Fox.[54]

In 2007, Aparicio was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame.[55]

There is a stadium in Maracaibo, Venezuela, bearing his father's name. The full name of the stadium is Estadio Luis Aparicio El Grande (Luis Aparicio "the Great" Stadium) in honor to Luis Aparicio Ortega.[56] Also, the sports complex where the stadium is located is named Polideportivo Luis Aparicio Montiel. There are also several streets and avenues bearing his name throughout Venezuela.

In 2015, Empresas Polar and Fenix Media released a documentary, Thirty Years of Immortality, which features testimonials from many big leaguers, friends, and family, on the day that Aparicio was announced as being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Director Isaac Bencid said, "It was a good time to honor Mr. Aparicio because it was the first time he had a documentary made of his life. I want to make people know in Venezuela. I think sometimes that you in the United States know more about Mr. Aparicio than many Venezuelans. Baseball is very important down there but a lot of young people in Venezuela don't know Mr. Aparicio. What we want to do is honor him and make people know about him."[57]

See also


  1. ^ MLB held two All-Star Games from 1959 through 1962


  1. ^ a b c d "Luis Aparicio". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Luis Aparicio at the SABR Bio Project, by Leonte Landino, retrieved February 4, 2012
  3. ^ National Baseball Hall of Fame, Luis Aparicio, "10-time All-Star" [1] Retrieved April 17, 2015
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Luis Aparicio". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  5. ^ National Baseball Hall of Fame, Luis Aparicio [2] Retrieved April 17, 2015
  6. ^ Eldridge, Larry (January 10, 1984). "Shortstop Aparicio may be short hop from Hall of Fame, finally. The Christian Science Monitor. [3] Retrieved April 17, 2015
  7. ^ a b "The Major League Baseball All-Century Team". Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Rogin, Gilbert (May 9, 1960). "Happy Little Luis". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  9. ^ James, Bill (2001). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York: Free Press. p. 599. ISBN 0-684-80697-5.
  10. ^ "1959 Rookie of the Year Award voting results". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  11. ^ "Rookie of the Year Award by The Sporting News". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  12. ^ a b Terrell, Roy (May 13, 1957). "The Go-sox Go Again". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  13. ^ Woodcock, Les (August 10, 1959). "Two For The Pennant". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  14. ^ "1957 Chicago White Sox Season". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  15. ^ "1958 All-Star Game". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  16. ^ "1958 Chicago White Sox Season". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  17. ^ "1958 Gold Glove Award Winners". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  18. ^ "1959 American League Final Standings". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  19. ^ "1959 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting results". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  20. ^ "1959 Gold Glove Award Winners". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  21. ^ "1959 All-Star Game". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  22. ^ "1959 World Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  23. ^ Dickson, Paul (1989). The Dickson Baseball Dictionary. United States: Facts on File. p. 12. ISBN 0816017417.
  24. ^ a b "If Luis Aparicio Clubhouse Lawyer, Baltimore Would Like Bench Full". Times Daily. NEA. April 21, 1963. p. 2. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  25. ^ "Luis Aparicio Trades and Transactions". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  26. ^ Kuenster, John (June 2004). Shortstop and Third Base Team Mates Who Led League in Fielding. Baseball Digest. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  27. ^ Kuenster, John (June 2009). Middle Infield Tandems That Won Fielding Titles, Same Season. Baseball Digest. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  28. ^ "1964 Gold Glove Award Winners". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  29. ^ "1966 American League Batting Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  30. ^ "1966 Gold Glove Award Winners". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  31. ^ "1966 American League Final Standings". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  32. ^ "1966 World Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  33. ^ "1966 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting results". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  34. ^ "Trade Shuffle Sends Aparicio To White Sox," The Associated Press (AP), Thursday, November 30, 1967. (Scroll down to page 14.) Retrieved April 17, 2020
  35. ^ "1970 Gold Glove Award Winners". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  36. ^ "1970 All-Star Game". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  37. ^ "1970 American League Final Standings". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  38. ^ "1970 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting results". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  39. ^ "Bob Aspromonte Joins New York," The New York Times, Wednesday, December 2, 1970. Retrieved March 5, 2020
  40. ^ Fimrite, Ron (June 14, 1971). "Even The President Worried". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  41. ^ Prime, Jim; Nowlin, Bill (March 2001). Tales From The Red Sox Dugout. ISBN 1-58261-348-6. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  42. ^ "October 2, 1972 Red Sox-Tigers box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  43. ^ "Today In History – Base-Running Blunders Doom Boston". October 2, 2007. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  44. ^ "July 5, 1973 Red Sox-Yankees box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  45. ^ "Stolen Base Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  46. ^ a b "Multiple Winners of the Gold Glove Awards". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  47. ^ Donnelly, Patrick. SportsData LLC. (2012). Midsummer Classics: Celebrating MLB's All-Star Game. 1959–1962: "all players who were named to the AL or NL roster were credited with one appearance per season" "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 30, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). SportsData Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  48. ^ a b Kuenster, John (June 2005). Shortstops By The Numbers. Baseball Digest. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  49. ^ "Luis Aparicio Biography". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  50. ^ "Luis Aparicio's number comes back from retirement for one... last... job". ESPN. February 11, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  51. ^ "Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame". Baseball Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  52. ^ "Aparicio pays visit to Guillen". Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  53. ^ Dickson, Paul (1989). The Dickson Baseball Dictionary. New York: FactsOnFile Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 0816017417.
  54. ^ "Aparicio, Fox honored with statues". Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  55. ^ "Hispanis Heritage Baseball Museum". Retrieved July 21, 2008.[permanent dead link]
  56. ^ "Estadio Luis Aparicio El Grande". Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  57. ^

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 19 August 2021, at 00:46
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