Luis Aparicio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Luis Aparicio
Luis Aparicio 2012.jpg
Aparicio in 2012
Shortstop
Born: (1934-04-29) April 29, 1934 (age 80)
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
Career statistics
Batting average .262
Hits 2,677
Home runs 83
Runs batted in 791
Stolen bases 506
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Induction 1984
Vote 84.62%
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Aparicio and the second or maternal family name is Montiel.

Luis Ernesto Aparicio Montiel (born April 29, 1934) is a former professional baseball player from Venezuela.[1] He played as a shortstop in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 18 seasons from 1956 through 1973.[1] In 1956, Aparicio won the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year Award playing for the Chicago White Sox. Nicknamed "Little Louie", Aparicio was the dominant shortstop of his era and was inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.[2][3] A ten-time (13 games) All-Star and a nine-time American League stolen base champion, he was nominated for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.[1][4]

Playing career[edit]

Born in Maracaibo, Zulia State, Venezuela, Aparicio came from a baseball family.[3] His father, Luis Aparicio, Sr., was a notable shortstop in Venezuela and owned a Winter League team with Aparicio's uncle, Ernesto Aparicio.[5] At the age of 19, Aparicio was selected as a member of the Venezuelan team in the 1953 Amateur World Series held in Caracas.[3] 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, then after taking the first pitch, had Aparicio Jr. take his place at bat.[3]

Major League Baseball[edit]

Chicago White Sox (1956-1962)[edit]

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.[3] 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.[6] After only two years in the minor leagues, he made his major league debut in 1956, replacing Carrasquel as the White Sox shortstop.[3] 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.[1][7][8] He was the first Latin American player to win the Rookie of the Year award.[3]


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.[5] He combined with second baseman Nellie Fox to become one of the best double play combinations in major league baseball.[9][10] 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.[9][11]

In 1958, Aparicio earned recognition as one of the top shortstops in major league baseball when he was elected to be the starting shortstop for the American League in the 1958 All-Star Game.[12] The White Sox would once again finish the season in second place behind the Yankees, after being in last place on June 14.[13] Aparicio again led the league in stolen bases, assists and putouts, and would win his first Gold Glove Award.[1][14]

1959[edit]

The Go Go White Sox would finally win the American League pennant in 1959, finishing the regular season five games ahead of the Cleveland Indians.[15] Aparicio finished second to team-mate Nellie Fox in the American League Most Valuable Player Award balloting, and won his second Gold Glove Award as well as another All-Star selection.[16][17][18] 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.[19] When Aparicio stole fifty bases in his first sixty-one attempts in 1959, the term "Aparicio double" was coined to represent a walk and a stolen base.[20]

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.[21] An enraged Aparicio said that he would quit rather than accept a decrease in pay and demanded to be traded.[21] 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.[22]

Baltimore Orioles (1963-1967)[edit]

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.[1] Together with Brooks Robinson and Jerry Adair, he was part of one of the best defensive infields in baseball.[23][24] In 1964, he would lead the league in stolen bases for a ninth consecutive year and win his sixth Gold Glove Award.[1][25] Aparicio posted a .278 batting average with 178 hits in 1966, 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.[26][27][28] 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.[29][30]

Chicago White Sox (1968-1970)[edit]

Aparicio returned to the White Sox for the 1968 season after being traded for Don Buford.[22] He continued to play well defensively, leading the league in range factor in 1968 and 1969.[1] Aparicio had his best overall offensive season in 1970, finishing fourth in the American League Batting Championship with a career-high .313 batting average and scoring 86 runs.[1] He also earned his eighth All-Star berth and won his ninth Gold Glove Award in 1970.[31][32] Despite the White Sox finishing in last place, Aparicio finished 12th in the 1970 American League Most Valuable Player Award balloting.[33][34] In December 1970, after three seasons with the White Sox, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Luis Alvarado and Mike Andrews.[22]

Boston Red Sox (1971-1973)[edit]

In 1971, Aparicio was one at bat from tying the longest Major League hitless streak for non-pitchers held by Bill Bergens with 45, set in 1909 with Brooklyn Superbas, by going without a hit in 44 at bats.[35] 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.[36] He hit for a career-low .232 batting average that year.[1]

In 1972, Aparicio made a late-season baserunning blunder that contributed to the Red Sox losing the 1972 American League Eastern Division title by half a game to the Detroit Tigers.[37] 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.[38] He retired at the end of the season at the age of 39.[1]

Major League statistics and highlights[edit]

In an 18-year career, Aparicio played in 2599 games, accumulating 2677 hits in 10,230 at bats for a .262 career batting average along with 394 doubles, 83 home runs, 791 runs batted in, 1335 runs and 506 stolen bases.[1] He ended his career with a .972 fielding percentage.[1] Aparicio led American League shortstops eight times in fielding percentage, seven times in assists, and four times in range factor and putouts.[1] He led the American League in stolen bases in nine consecutive seasons (1956–64) and won the Gold Glove Award nine times (1958–62, 1964, 1966, 1970).[1][39][40] Aparicio was also a ten-time All-Star (1958–64, 1970–72).[1][2]

  • American League Rookie of the year (1956)
  • American League leader in sacrifice hits and putouts as shortstop (1956)
  • American League leader in stolen bases (1956-1964)
  • American League leader in putouts as shortstop (1958, 1959)
  • American League leader in sacrifice hits (1960)
  • American League leader in fielding average (1960-1964)
  • American League leader in singles, fielding average, and putouts as shortstop (1966)

Major League records[edit]

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 American League shortstop.[2] His nine Gold Glove Awards set an American League record for shortstops, that was tied by Omar Vizquel in 2001.[40] 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.[41]

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.[41] 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. 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 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 major league history. Aparicio never played any defensive position other than shortstop.[42] His 2673 hits by a shortstop was a record until Derek Jeter broke it on Aug. 17, 2009.

Major League honors[edit]

In bronze, shortstop Aparicio waits for the baseball being flipped from teammate Nellie Fox.
SoxRetired11.PNG
Luis Aparicio's number 11 was retired by the Chicago White Sox in 1984.

Hall of Fame[edit]

Luis Aparicio was inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, the first native of Venezuela to be honored.[2]

Aparicio number 11 is retired[edit]

The Chicago White Sox retired Aparicio's uniform number 11 in 1984.[43] In 2010, the White Sox 'un-retired' number 11 for one season, for former player and shortstop, Omar Vizquel, with Aparicio's permission.[44]

Other honors[edit]

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 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.[4]

In 2003, Aparicio was inducted into the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.[45]

In 2005, 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 White Sox.[46]

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 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.[47]

In 2007, Aparicio was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame.[48]

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.[49] 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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Luis Aparicio". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Luis Aparicio". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Luis Aparicio at the SABR Bio Project, by Leonte Landino, retrieved 4 February 2012
  4. ^ a b "The Major League Baseball All-Century Team". MLB.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Rogin, Gilbert (May 9, 1960). "Happy Little Luis". Sports Illustrated. Sports-Illustrated.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  6. ^ James, Bill (2001). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York: Free Press. p. 599. ISBN 0-684-80697-5. 
  7. ^ "1959 Rookie of the Year Award voting results". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  8. ^ "Rookie of the Year Award by The Sporting News". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Terrell, Roy (May 13, 1957). "The Go-sox Go Again". Sports Illustrated. Sports-Illustrated.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  10. ^ Woodcock, Les (August 10, 1959). "Two For The Pennant". Sports Illustrated. Sports-Illustrated.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  11. ^ "1957 Chicago White Sox Season". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "1958 All-Star Game". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  13. ^ "1958 Chicago White Sox Season". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  14. ^ "1958 Gold Glove Award Winners". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  15. ^ "1959 American League Final Standings". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  16. ^ "1959 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting results". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  17. ^ "1959 Gold Glove Award Winners". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  18. ^ "1959 All-Star Game". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  19. ^ "1959 World Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  20. ^ Dickson, Paul (1989). The Dickson Baseball Dictionary. United States: Facts on File. p. 12. ISBN 0816017417. 
  21. ^ a b "If Luis Aparicio Clubhouse Lawyer, Baltimore Would Like Bench Full". Times Daily. NEA. 21 April 1963. p. 2. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  22. ^ a b c "Luis Aparicio Trades and Transactions". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  23. ^ Kuenster, John (June 2004). "Shortstop and Third Base Team Mates Who Led League in Fielding". Baseball Digest (Books.Google.com). Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  24. ^ Kuenster, John (June 2009). "Middle Infield Tandems That Won Fielding Titles, Same Season". Baseball Digest (Books.Google.com). Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  25. ^ "1964 Gold Glove Award Winners". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  26. ^ "1966 American League Batting Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  27. ^ "1966 Gold Glove Award Winners". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  28. ^ "1966 American League Final Standings". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  29. ^ "1966 World Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  30. ^ "1966 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting results". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  31. ^ "1970 Gold Glove Award Winners". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  32. ^ "1970 All-Star Game". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  33. ^ "1970 American League Final Standings". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  34. ^ "1970 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting results". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  35. ^ Fimrite, Ron (June 14, 1971). "Even The President Worried". Sports Illustrated. Sports-Illustrated.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  36. ^ Prime, Jim; Nowlin, Bill. Tales From The Red Sox Dugout. Books.Google.com. ISBN 1-58261-348-6. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  37. ^ "October 2, 1972 Red Sox-Tigers box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  38. ^ "July 5, 1973 Red Sox-Yankees box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  39. ^ "Stolen Base Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  40. ^ a b "Multiple Winners of the Gold Glove Awards". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  41. ^ a b Kuenster, John (June 2005). "Shortstops By The Numbers". Baseball Digest (Books.Google.com). Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  42. ^ "Luis Aparicio Biography". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  43. ^ "White Sox retired numbers". White Sox.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  44. ^ "White Sox Unretired Aparicio for Vizquel". http://sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  45. ^ "Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame". Baseball Bullpen.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  46. ^ "Aparicio pays visit to Guillen". MLB.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  47. ^ "Aparicio, Fox honored with statues". MLB.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  48. ^ "Hispanis Heritage Baseball Museum". accessdate=2008-07-21. 
  49. ^ "Estadio Luis Aparicio El Grande". Mundo-Andino.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 

External links[edit]