Luis Aparicio - The Legend
Luis Aparicio was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela on April 24, 1939. Since he was a little kid, he learned the tricks of his position, the Shortstop, from his father Luis Aparicio Ortega "The Great of Maracaibo", who was the best player of his time and the biggest legend in the country.
His debut in professional Baseball with Gavilanes in the Zulian League was the most memorable moment in the history of Venezuelan Baseball. On November 18, 1953 -annual date where the game was played in honor of the Chiquinquira Virgin in Maracaibo- his father, announced his career retirement and gave his glove to his son, who was in his first game in front of the city who has cheered for him during decades, and whose expectations for the 18 years-old rookie were extremely high.
Soon, in 1956, the Chicago White Sox called him and he was awarded as the Rookie of the Year. After that Aparicio, became the best Shortstop in the Majors, during his 18-year career with the White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and Boston Red Sox.
He won 11 Gold Gloves, and revived the stolen bases art in Baseball, being the leader for nine straight years. He never played in a position different from Shortstop. His acrobatic plays became example for future generations of deluxe Venezuelan Shortstops, which has included, Enzo Hernandez, Dave Concepcion, Ozzie Guillen, and Omar Vizquel, but started with Chico Carrasquel who patrolled the White Sox Short-Stop before Aparicio.
In 1984, he was inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, being this the greatest achievement of Venezuelan Baseball.
Every November 18, the Aguilas del Zulia plays the traditional game in honor to the Virgin, where the Aparicio debut is remembered in the stadium with his fathers' name in Maracaibo. In Venezuela, he played for Gavilanes, Rapiños, La Guaira and Zulia, and managed Lara, Zulia, La Guaira, Magallanes and Cabimas.
Aparicio's number 11 is retired by the Chicago White Sox. He is considered the best defensive Shortstop in the history of Baseball. His number is also retired from all Venezuelan teams, and many amateur Baseball and even Softball teams in the country do not wear glorious number 11 in his honor. Several Venezuelans in the Majors have proudly worn it.
Perhaps, historians still discuss
and support the fact that his father was a better player but never agreed
to play in the Majors during the 30's or 40's. Luis Aparicio Ortega (Sr.)
was the idol of the country's fans from late 20's until 50's, considered
the best Venezuelan Shortstop ever. For young Aparicio his father was
always his inspiration.