May 29, 2005
The First Link
Alfonso "Chico" Carrasquel Colon, who died of a heart attack on Thursday at the age of 77, was not only the first Latin American ballplayer to start in a major league all-star game, he was the first in a string of slick-fielding shortstops who emerged from his home country of Venezuela.
From Carrasquel to Luis Aparicio to Davey Concepcion to Ozzie Guillen to Omar Vizquel to Cesar Izturis, this remarkable collection of men has accumulated 25 Gold Gloves at the shortstop position, and Izturis figures to add to that total after garnering his first Gold Glove in 2004 at the age of 24.
Considered a national treasure in his native land, Carrasquel's passing was to be observed by two days of mourning in Venezuela. And when the games resume thereafter, the next great defensive shortstop, now maybe all of 14 or 15 years of age, will continue to hone his skills in the hope of adding his link to the chain started by Chico Carrasquel over 50 years ago.
Posted by Andrew Torres at 12:39 AM