Chico Carrasquel

Venezuelan Chico Carrasquel was signed in 1949 by the Dodgers, who then sold him to the White Sox. Carrasquel’s inability to speak English may have caused Branch Rickey to move him. White Sox GM Frank Lane solved the communication problem by trading journeyman pitcher Alex Carrasquel – Chico’s uncle – for reliever Luis Aloma, who served as the interpreter between Chico and manager Paul Richards. Replacing Luke Appling, Carrasquel soon established himself as a top shortstop and batted .282 with a 24-game hitting streak as a rookie in 1950. He broke an AL record by accepting 297 chances (in 53 games) without an error in 1951, and beat out reigning MVP Phil Rizzuto as the AL’s starting All-Star SS. But Carrasquel had trouble controlling his weight, and in 1952 he was benched for lethargic play. In October 1955 Chicago traded him with Jim Busby to Cleveland for Larry Doby. They had another Venezuelan SS waiting in the minors – Luis Aparicio. Carrasquel became a legend in his native Caracas, serving as a play-by-play man on their Game of the Week.