Nickname: "Little Louie"
Born: April 29, 1934 (Maracaibo, Venezuela)
ML Debut: April 17, 1956
Final Game: September 28, 1973
Bats: Right Throws: Right
5' 9" 160
Hall of Fame: 1984 (Baseball Writers, 341 votes on 403 ballots, 84.62%)
|Played for Chicago White Sox (1956-1962, 1968-1970), Baltimore Orioles (1963-1967), Boston Red Sox (1971-1973)
Postseason: 1959 WS, 1966 WS
All Star 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1970, 1971, 1972
AL Rookie of the Year 1956
Gold Gloves 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970
Baseball was a tradition in the Aparicio family. Luis Aparicio, Sr. was considered one Venezuela's greatest shortstop and, with brother Ernesto, owned a winter league. Luis Aparicio, Jr. signed with the Chicago White Sox for $10,000 in 1955. Starting in place of another Venezuelan shortstop, Chico Carrasquel, in his rookie year, Aparicio led the American League in stolen bases (21) and was named the AL and Sporting News Rookie of the Year. For nine years in a row (1956-1964) Aparicio was the AL's top base stealer, collecting 57 in 1964. He won the Gold Glove nine times and was a ten-time All-Star. For eight consecutive seasons (1959-1966), Aparicio led all AL shortstops in fielding percentage. He teamed with second baseman Nellie Fox for many defensive gems; the pair also provided Chicago with a potent one-two punch at the top of the batting order. According to Fox: "What is the top requirement for a second baseman? A fine shortstop. I'm fortunate in having the greatest shortstop in baseball -- Luis Aparicio." Aparicio was a key part of the 1959 "Go-Go" White Sox who won the AL pennant that year. In 1963 he was traded to Baltimore, and four years later helped the Orioles reach the World Series, where they swept the Los Angeles Dodgers. Back with the Chisox in 1968, Aparicio had his best offensive season in 1970, batting .313 and scoring 86 runs. He closed out his career with three seasons as a Boston Red Sox. In 18 seasons he never played an inning at a position other than shortstop. When he retired, Aparicio was the all-time leader in games played (2,581), assists (8,016), and double plays by a Major League shortstop. He also held the AL record for putouts (4,548), and had 506 career stolen bases. Luis Aparicio, Jr. was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.
-- Jason Manning
"That little guy is just about the greatest shortstop I've ever seen. I can't imagine how anybody could possibly be any better, no matter how far back you go."
-- Ralph Houk
"I watched Luis Aparicio play in Caracas from the time he was a young boy. His father was one of the greatest shortstops to play in Venezuela. He was called 'Luis le Grande.' As Luis got older and played professional ball I saw that he had the talent to play in the major leagues. I was responsible for the White Sox signing him. In 1954 I called Frank Lane from Caracas and told him about Aparicio. Lane said I should bring him to the States. He was assigned to Waterloo, in Class A, and then Memphis. In 1956 he was ready to play in the big leagues. So I got traded to Cleveland to make room for him. I was happy to help him. And he was always grateful and told sportswriters about me. When I was on Cleveland I talked to him almost every day. On my first trip back to Chicago, Luis was waiting for me. He told me, 'I want to go home.' 'Why?' 'Because Income Tax took all my money.' 'Speak to the White Sox. I know they're going to help you.' 'No, no, no. I want to go home tomorrow.' 'Luis, you can't go home. You've proved to everybody that you can play in the big leagues. And it's because of you I now play in Cleveland. So you better stay here.' That's when Aparicio started to collect his salary without being taxed. The White Sox paid his tax in order to keep him in America."
-- Chico Carrasquel
We Played the Game