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Today in White Sox History: January 23

Chicago loses its most ridiculous 1B-DH

Omar Vizquel turned out to be incredibly unworthy of the No. 11 un-retired on his behalf.
| Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to brettballantini@yahoo.com

1928

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.


2012

After two mediocre seasons with the White Sox, Omar Vizquel signed with Toronto, playing the final season of his 24-year career with the Blue Jays.

While mediocre is a rough assessment for a shortstop playing into his early 40s, Vizquel was well past his prime, providing negative defensive WAR and -0.2 WAR overall during his 2010-11 tenure on the South Side. Perhaps most outrageously, Vizquel was inserted four times in the lineup as designated hitter by “hybrid DH”-loving White Sox manager Ozzie Guillén. Vizquel also played all three of his career games at first base with the White Sox.

Perhaps most notable in Vizquel’s tenure was the fact that he asked for, and received, permission to wear No. 11 with the White Sox from Luis Aparicio, for whom the number was retired in 1984.

In retirement, Vizquel managed in the White Sox system but derailed his management career — hopefully on a permanent basis — with multiple spousal abuse and sexual harassment incidents.


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