Alfonso Carrasquel Colon
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 170 lb.
- Debut April 18, 1950
- Final Game September 23, 1959
- Born January 23, 1928 in Caracas, Venezuela
- Died May 26, 2005 in Caracas, Venezuela
During a decade-long career in the majors, shortstop Chicago Carrasquel was most noted for his defensive skills. He was one of the first big league stars to come out of Venezuela and was a national hero in his home country.
The son of a beer salesman, Carrasquel followed in his uncle Alex Carrasquel's footsteps and pursued a baseball career. By his mid-teens, he had quit school, and the Brooklyn Dodgers signed him prior to the 1949 season. He was initially assigned to the Montreal Royals, but skipper Clay Hopper refused to play him because he did not speak English, so the Dodgers sent him to the Fort Worth Cats of the Texas League instead, where he earned the nickname "Chico". He responded by hitting .315 and finishing second among shortstops in the circuit in fielding.
However, Carrasquel's path to the majors was blocked by the Dodgers shortstop, Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese. Following the 1949 season, he was acquired by the Chicago White Sox, who made him an Opening Day starter in 1950, succeeding another Hall of Famer, Luke Appling. With the assistance of Cuban-born teammate Luis Aloma, who served as his translator, the language barrier was overcome, and he responded by having a stellar rookie campaign. That year, he hit .282 with 72 runs scored and recorded a 24-game hitting streak while finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting. The following summer, in 1951 he became the first Latin player to appear in the All-Star Game (a feat he repeated three more times in his career). He had perhaps his best year with the Sox in 1954, hitting .255 with 12 homers while scoring 102 runs.
The White Sox had another Venezuelan shortstop, Luis Aparicio, waiting in the minors, so they traded an angry Carrasquel to the Cleveland Indians for Larry Doby following the 1955 season. He had his best year as a hitter with the Tribe in 1957, when he posted numbers of .276/.351/.378. Following stints with the Kansas City Athletics and Baltimore Orioles, he retired as a player after the 1959 season.
While Carrasquel's lifetime batting average and slugging percentage were very similar to those of Aparicio, Carrasquel drew more walks and thus had an on-base percentage 20 points higher.
After his playing career ended, Carrasquel returned to Venezuela, where he was a manager, a major league scout for the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets, and a broadcaster. He later worked in the White Sox front office and did Spanish-language radio broadcasts of Sox games for many years.
In 2003, Carrasquel was injured during a carjacking in his native Venezuela. On May 26, 2005, he died in his homeland of cardiac arrest. Numerous Spanish-language writers eulogized him. He was part of the inaugural class of inductees in the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Carrasquel was the nephew of Alex Carrasquel, the brother of Domingo Carrasquel Sr. and Martin Carrasquel, the cousin of Manuel Carrasquel and the uncle of Cris Colón, Alfonso Collazo, Domingo Carrasquel Jr. and Emilio Carrasquel.
- 4-time AL All-Star (1951 & 1953-1955)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1954)