Luis Ernesto Aparicio Montiel (born April 29, 1934 in Maracaibo, Zulia State, Venezuela) is a former shortstop in Major League Baseball and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. From 1956 through 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.
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 1956, winning both the MLB 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 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 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 1966 when he helped the Orioles reach the World Series, which they won. He returned to the White Sox for the 1968 season after being traded for Don Buford and had his best overall offensive season in 1970, hitting .312 and scoring 86 runs. He put in three more seasons with the Boston Red Sox before retiring for good.
At his retirement, Aparicio was the all-time leader for most games played, assists and double plays by a MLB shortstop and the all-time leader for putouts and total chances by an AL baseball shortstop. Through the 2005 season, Aparicio holds the major league record of 2581 games played in the position. Amazingly, he never played in another position than shortstop.
Luis Aparicio was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. 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 Montiel.
There are also several streets and avenues bearing his name throughout Venezuela.
- Signed as an amateur free agent by Chicago White Sox (1954).
- Traded by Chicago White Sox with Al Smith to Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Hoyt Wilhelm, Dave Nicholson, Pete Ward and Ron Hansen (January 14, 1963).
- Traded by Baltimore Orioles with Russ Snyder and John Matias to Chicago White Sox in exchange for Don Buford, Bruce Howard and Roger Nelson (November 29, 1967).
- Traded by Chicago White Sox to Boston Red Sox in exchange for Mike Andrews and Luis Alvarado (December 1, 1970).
- Released by Boston Red Sox (March 26, 1974).
- 1956 Rookie of the Year
- 10 Time All-Star: (1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1970, 1971, 1972)
- 1 World Series Champion: 1966 Baltimore Orioles