Luis Aparicio

Luis Ernesto Aparicio Montiel
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1984
Primary team: Chicago White Sox
Primary position: Shortstop

Few men Luis Aparicio’s size have starred at the big league level. Even fewer have controlled the diamond like the slick-fielding Venezuelan shortstop.

Luis Ernesto Aparacio was born April 29, 1934, in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Signed as an amateur free agent by the White Sox in 1954, Aparicio spent two years in the minors before making his major league debut on April 17, 1956.

The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Aparicio quickly made a name for himself as the starting shortstop, leading the league with 21 stolen bases and 14 sacrifice hits in his first season. His efforts earned him the American League Rookie of the Year award.

It marked the first of nine straight seasons where Aparico led the American League in stolen bases. No other player has ever led his league in steals more than six years in a row.

In 1959, “Little Louie” propelled the White Sox to the World Series with stellar regular season numbers, scoring 98 runs while stealing 56 bases – finishing second that year in AL MVP voting. Although his team lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Fall Classic, Aparicio batted .308 with eight hits.

Aparicio led AL shortstops in fielding percentage from 1959-66 and racked up nine Gold Glove Awards over the span of his career.

"He's the best I've ever seen,” former White Sox owner and future Hall of Famer Bill Veeck said in 1959. “He makes plays which I know can't possibly be made, yet he makes them almost every day.”

The White Sox traded Aparicio to the Baltimore Orioles on Jan. 14, 1963. In his four years with the Orioles, he led the AL in stolen bases twice. Aparicio also made his second World Series appearance in 1966. This time, his Orioles swept the Dodgers to win it all.

Aparicio was traded back to the White Sox after the 1967 season, and he spent three more years with Chicago before moving to the Boston Red Sox. Aparicio spent his last three seasons in the major leagues in Boston.

Aparicio played his final game on Sept. 28, 1973 at the age of 40 and officially retired after he was released by the Red Sox in March of 1974. At the time of his retirement, he held the record for shortstops in games played, double plays turned and assists. He finished his career with 2,677 hits and a .311 on-base-percentage. He was a 10-time All-Star.

In 1984, Aparicio was inducted into the Hall of Fame – becoming the first Venezuela native to earn enshrinement in Cooperstown.

"He made plays that opponents at first viewed with amazement and then gloomily came to accept as his normal performance. "
Ed Prell, Saturday Evening Post

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1984
Primary Team: Chicago White Sox
Position Played: Shortstop
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: Maracaibo. Venezuela
Birth year: 1934
Played for:
Chicago White Sox (1956-1962)
Baltimore Orioles AL (1963-1967)
Chicago White Sox (1968-1970)
Boston Red Sox (1971-1973)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
2599
At BatsAB
10230
RunsR
1335
HitsH
2677
Doubles2B
394
Triples3B
92
Home RunsHR
83
RBIRBI
791
Stolen BasesSB
506
WalksBB
736
Batting AverageBA
.262
OPSOPS
.653
On Base %OBP
.311
Slugging %SLG
.343