Luis Aparicio

Luis Aparicio

Infobox MLB retired
name=Luis Aparicio

birthdate=birth date and age|1934|4|29
Maracaibo, Venezuela
debutdate=April 17
debutteam=Chicago White Sox
finaldate=September 28
finalteam=Boston Red Sox
stat1label=Batting average
stat3label=Stolen bases
* Chicago White Sox (by|1956by|1962)
* Baltimore Orioles (by|1963by|1967)
* Chicago White Sox (by|1968by|1970)
* Boston Red Sox (by|1971by|1973)
* 10x All-Star selection (1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1970, 1971, 1972)
* World Series champion (1966)
* 9x Gold Glove Award winner (1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970)
* 1956 AL Rookie of the Year
* Chicago White Sox #11 retired

Luis Ernesto Aparicio Montiel (born April 29, 1934) is a former shortstop in professional baseball and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. His career spanned three decades, from by|1956 through by|1973. Aparicio played for the Chicago White Sox (1956–62, 1968–70), Baltimore Orioles (1963–67) and Boston Red Sox (1971–73). He batted and threw right-handed.

Playing career

Born in Maracaibo, Zulia State, Venezuela, Aparicio came from a baseball family. His father, Luis Sr., was a notable shortstop in Venezuela and owned a Winter League team with Aparicio's uncle, Ernesto.

Aparicio was heavily scouted by the Cleveland Indians, but Chicago White Sox GM Frank Lane, on the recommendation of fellow Venezuelan shortstop Chico Carrasquel, signed Aparicio for $5,000 down and $5,000 in first year salary. He played well in the minors and then led the American League in stolen bases in his debut year of by|1956, winning both the Rookie of the Year and "The Sporting News" Rookie of the Year awards.

Over the next decade, Aparicio set the standard for the spray-hitting, slick-fielding, speedy shortstop. He led the AL in stolen bases in nine consecutive seasons (1956–64) and won the Gold Glove Award nine times (1958–62, 1964, 1966, 1970). He was also a ten-time All-Star (1958–64, 1970–72) and a key player on the by|1959 "Go-Go" White Sox that won the American League pennant that year. The White Sox were generally successful during his tenure, but when he showed up overweight and had an off year in by|1962, the White Sox dealt him to the Baltimore Orioles the following season.

Aparicio regained his form in Baltimore and was ninth in the MVP balloting in by|1966 when he helped the Orioles reach the World Series, which they won. He returned to the White Sox for the by|1968 season after being traded for Don Buford and had his best overall offensive season in by|1970, hitting .312 and scoring 86 runs. He put in three more seasons with the Boston Red Sox before retiring for good.

Aparicio batted a more than respectable .262 for his career but he also shares the distinction of tying the longest Major League hitless streak for non-pitchers in the last 50 years by going 0 for 44 with the Boston Red Sox in 1971. He batted a career low .232 that year. But even in his last year as an active player in 1973 he rebounded to hit .271 while still playing regularly at age 39. He had 13 consecutive seasons with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and an on-base percentage less than .325, a MLB record. (His career OBP was slightly better than the shortstops' one during those years; .311 vs .309) A more impressive streak was his 16 straight seasons with more than 500 plate appearances, tied for fifth best in MLB history.

Baseball records

At 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 AL baseball shortstop. His 2583 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. Amazingly, Aparicio never played any defensive position other than shortstop.

Baseball honors

Luis Aparicio was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in by|1984, the first native of South America so honored. Aparicio was also inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame.cite web |url=|title=Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum |format= |work= |accessdate=2008-07-21] In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him 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 100 Greatest Baseball Players, but Major League Baseball did list him as one of their 100 nominees for their All-Century Team.

He was given the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Game One 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 Sox.

Landmarks bearing his family name

There is a stadium in Maracaibo, Venezuela, bearing his father's name. The full name of the stadium is Estadio Luis Aparicio El Grande (Stadium Luis Aparicio the Great) in honor to Luis Aparicio Ortega. 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 2006, two bronze statues, one depicting him, the other depicting his teammate and fellow infielder Nellie Fox, were unveiled on the outfield councourse of U.S. Cellular Field. Fox's statue depicts him flipping a baseball toward Aparicio, while Aparicio is depicted as preparing to receive the ball from Fox.

ee also

* List of Gold Glove middle infield duos
* List of players from Venezuela in Major League Baseball
* List of major league players with 2,000 hits
* List of Major League Baseball players with 1000 runs
* List of Major League Baseball players with 500 stolen bases
* List of Major League Baseball stolen base champions
* List of Major League Baseball players with 400 stolen bases
* Major League Baseball titles leaders

External links


succession box
title = American League Stolen Base Champion
years = by|1956-by|1964
before = Jim Rivera
after = Bert Campaneris


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