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Today in White Sox History: January 23

The godfather of great Venezuelan shortstops on the South Side is born

Sports Contributor Archive 2019
The pantheon of great Venezuelan shortstops for the White Sox (left to right): Chico Carrasquel, Luis Aparicio and Ozzie Guillén. Chico, 64 years old in this photo, looks ready to bump Ozzie from the lineup and scoop up some grounders.
Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images


Alfonso “Chico” Carrasquel was born in Caracas, Venezuela.

A 21.3 WAR player over his decade in the majors, Chico made an immediate impact with the White Sox, finishing 12th in AL MVP voting as a rookie and in just his second season becoming the first Latin player ever to appear in an All-Star Game (1951). Despite being a singles hitter (.342 career slugging), Chico’s value on the defensive side was enormous. His 14.6 career defensive WAR places him 124th all-time in the majors, and 13.0 defensive WAR on the White Sox puts him eighth in franchise history.

Perhaps most importantly, Chico started a line of Venezuelans into the major leagues — and, specifically, of Venezuelan shortstops to the South Side. Luis Aparicio, who was 16 when Carrasquel made his debut, was such an enormous talent in Chico’s footsteps that he sped a Carrasquel trade to Cleveland. Then, 15 years after Aparicio fielded his final grounder at Comiskey Park, Ozzie Guillén became the third great Venezuelan shortstop to wear White Sox colors.

Carrasquel was not on the down side of his career when traded in the mid-1950s; in fact, he was coming off of the two best seasons of his career in 1954 (5.5 WAR) and 1955 (3.5) when dealt.

Carrasquel also presided over the beginning of the golden age of White Sox teams, as from 1951-67 the team ran off 17 straight winning seasons. Unfortunately, he was unable to see his home club win it all, passing away early in the magical World Series year, at home in Caracas, on May 26, 2005.

[On a personal note, Chico Carrasquel is the reason I am a White Sox fan, indirectly. My father loved Chico and became a White Sox fan because of him. As often happens, fathers pass fandom down to sons, and here I am.]