Growing Up In Venezuela
Luis Aparicio was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, on April 29, 1934. It's not surprising that he became enraptured with baseball at a very early age. His father, Luis E. Aparicio Sr., a tractor driver for an oil company, was an avid baseball player and the very first Venezuelan to ever be offered a major league contract to play baseball. Playing the game he loved in the Venezuelan league (with the Caracas Club) to the age of 41, Aparicio Sr. passed along his considerable knowledge, teaching his son the "ins" and "outs" of the game and the particulars involved in becoming an effective and valuable team player.
Attending public schools in Maracaibo, Aparicio grew to his 5'9" height, and 155-160 pound weight by high school. In fact, his slight stature later earned him the recognizable nickname of "Little Looie." Deciding that baseball was his destiny, Aparicio left high school after completing two years and began playing with an amateur team in Caracas, Venezuela. Incredibly, he batted .350, which helped to propel his team into the Latin American World Series. Later, he played for the Barquismeto Cardinales.
Following in his father's image, Aparicio became a shortstop—assuming the position he would continue to play for his entire professional career. In fact, in 1953, he took his father's place as shortstop for the Maracaibo Gavilanes.
"Discovered" that same year, Aparicio was offered a contract to play for the Chicago White Sox. Moving to the United States, he played with Waterloo, a White Sox farm team in 1954. The following year, he joined the Southern Association, playing for Memphis. He was a standout—leading the league in stolen bases, assists, and total putouts—though he also led in errors.