Alfonso Carrasquel Colón (born January 23, 1928 in Caracas, Venezuela), best known as Chico Carrasquel, was a Major League Baseball player. He currently works as a Community Relations Representative for the Chicago White Sox.
"El Chico" was the third Venezuelan to play in the majors after right-handed pitcher Alex Carrasquel (Washington Senators, in 1939) and first baseman/outfielder Chucho Ramos (Cincinnati Reds, in 1944). His major league career began with the White Sox, where he played shortstop from 1950 to 1955.
In 1951 Carrasquel became the first Latin American player to be selected to participate in an All-Star game, beating out reigning MVP Phil Rizzuto as the American League's starting shortstop. Carrasquel would go on to be selected to the All-Star team a total of four times.
In 1946, as a six-foot, 193-pound 17-year-old Cervecería Caracas shortstop, Carrasquel hit the first home run batted in the Venezuelan Winter Baseball League's history. He was signed in 1949 by the Brooklyn Dodgers, but his inability to speak English may have caused Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey to sell him to the White Sox. The Sox' GM Frank Lane solved the language communication problem by trading journeyman pitcher Alex Carrasquel (Chico's uncle) for reliever Witto Aloma, who served as the interpreter between Chico and manager Paul Richards. Replacing Luke Appling in 1950, Carrasquel soon established himself as a top shortstop, and made an excellent double play combination with second baseman Nellie Fox. As a rookie, Carrasquel hit for a .282 batting average in 141 games and amassed a 24-game hitting streak. Boston Red Sox pitcher Ellis Kinder stopped the streak.
Carrasquel broke an AL record by accepting 297 chances (in 53 games) without an error in 1951. At the end of the 1955 season, Chicago traded him with Jim Busby to the Cleveland Indians for Larry Doby. The trade was made to make room for future Hall of Famer, and fellow Venezuelan, Luis Aparicio, Jr.
Carrasquel then played for the Indians from 1956 to 1958, the Kansas City Athletics in 1958, and the Baltimore Orioles in 1959.
Chico Carrasquel is a living legend in his native Venezuela. He was the most important and influential figure for many countrymen that have played Major League Baseball, including shortstops Aparicio, Dave Concepción, Ozzie Guillén and Omar Vizquel; outfielders Vic Davalillo, Tony Armas, Magglio Ordóñez and Bobby Abreu; the versatile utility player César Tovar; second baseman Manny Trillo; catcher Bo Diaz; first baseman Andrés Galarraga, and many more.
The Venezuelan Baseball League belatedly honored its native son in 1991, when the Puerto La Cruz baseball park was renamed Chico Carrasquel Stadium.
- Career statistics at Baseball Reference (http://www.baseball_reference.com/c/carrach01.shtml)
- Articles about Chico (http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/sabr/tbi/C/Carrasquel-Chico.tbi.stm#articles)
- 1951 All Star game play_by_play (http://www.baseball_almanac.com/asgbox/1951-all-star-game-play-by-play.shtml)
- Chico & Nellie combo (http://whitesoxinteractive.com/OldComiskey/fifties1.jpg)
- Chico's Stadium (http://www.lapelota.20m.com/images/estadio-cari2.gif)
- History of Venezuelan MLB Players (http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Park/2262/)