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Moose Milligan

A pivotal player in O's history that rarely gets mentioned

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I agree.  Aparicio was a key player for the O's in the mid 60's.  Lee McPhail had a good eye for talent that came from the farm and key trades.   Aparicio was not short changed at the time.  He was well liked by the fans and his teammates.   His glove along with Brooks, Davey Johnson and Boog surely helped the O's pitchers like Palmer, McNally, Bunker, Pappas and Barber  put up great  number.   Stu Miller, Dick Hall and Harvey Haddix were great out of the pen.  A lot of that revolved around the defense of which Aparicio was a key part.

As a young O's fan I remember these guys well.  It was a treat to watch and listen to them play.

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8 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

Aparicio was an interesting player, a poor hitter, but a very good fielder and base runner.  He had combination of talents that would be utilized differently today.  When he came to the majors nobody had really stolen bases since the 1920s.  That's an exaggeration, but by 1945 steals were almost dead.  In '49 some guy named Bob Dillinger led the AL with 20 steals.  Aparicio led the AL his rookie year with 21. The late 40s and early 50s were more station-to-station baseball than today.

GMs and managers got kind of enamored with steals after Aparicio and Maury Wills came up, and got all mixed up and started batting guys with .311 OBPs (Aparicio's real career mark) leadoff.  Aparicio batted 1st or 2nd in almost 10,000 PAs and played 150 games a year.  But he never scored 100 runs in a season, even once.  In '59, when he finished 2nd in the MVP voting, he led the league in outs made.  He's 14th all time in outs.  But if you read things like Baseball Digest from the 1960s they thought Aparicio was a wonderful leadoff hitter.  He wasn't.  In 1966 he scored 97 runs but that was leading off every day and leading the league in PAs - per PA he scored the same number of runs as Boog or Brooks.

But... because he was a very good shortstop and a good baserunner he actually had a reasonable HOF career despite being one of the worst hitters in Cooperstown.

But not a terribly poor hitter for being a SS of the time, right? 

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4 minutes ago, Moose Milligan said:

But not a terribly poor hitter for being a SS of the time, right? 

He wasn't Mark Belanger or Ray Oyler.  

Quick query: 1945-1980, played at least 800 games at short.  47 players come up.  Aparicio was 25th in OPS+, just a little below average. 

He wasn't in the same zip code as Ernie Banks, Vern Stephens, Jim Fregosi, Eddie Joost, Pee Wee Reese, Al Dark.  Still quite a ways behind Dave Concepcion, Phil Rizzuto, Chris Speier, Bert Campaneris.  Similar to Tony Kubek, Chico Carrasquel, Freddy Patek, Bill Russell.

There are 23 shortstops in the Hall, depending on where you put John Ward.  Aparicio is 22nd in OPS+, a fraction of a point ahead of Rabbit Maranville.  We kind of laugh at Phil Rizzuto being in the Hall, but he had an OPS 50 points higher and lost three prime years to the war.

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Aparicio was mentioned some in the Belanger documentary. The doc showed how Mark was essentially blocked by him and in spring training, Mark would ask him how he did this or that and Aparicio was reluctant to go out of his way to mentor him as he knew Belanger was a bad-ass defensively and was in competition for his job. The trade back to Chicago opened SS up and the rest is history.  

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4 hours ago, Moose Milligan said:

After Frank Robinson's passing last week, I went down a baseballreference.com/wiki/youtube rabbit hole that was pretty encompassing.  Of course, started with Frank Robinson but it branched off to other players from the mid 60s up until the early 70s.  

There was one player that I read up on that piqued my interest more than a lot of others and I came to learn that he was pretty pivotal for the Orioles success.  This player spent 5 years with the O's, and is a Hall of Famer.  I first heard of him when I was a kid, in the early 90s, when his jersey was represented on a giveaway tankard at Memorial Stadium that I still have which is kind of awkward as he's not in the Hall of Fame as an Oriole.

In 1966, he tied Frank for 2nd place with hits in the American League with 182.  Of course, that was during Frank's Triple Crown season, so this guy might not have provided the power but certainly rapped out hits at a solid rate that summer.

He also lead the league in stolen bases twice as an Oriole, first with 40 in one season and then 57 in the next.  He picked up two Gold Gloves, secured two All-Star berths and received MVP votes in three seasons.  In the 1966 World Series, a Series without a lot of scoring he hit .250 and chipped in two RBIs.  And for you WAR-mongers, his WAR totals were 2.5, 5.2, 4.0 4.2 and a low 0.6 in his final year.

From what I can tell, Luis Aparicio is a really overlooked player in Orioles history.  Not just from the perspective of what he did on the field, but how he ties into the history of the franchise.  The 1962 Orioles were 77-85, and then dealt Hoyt Wilhelm, Ron Hansen, Dave Nicholson and Pete Ward to the White Sox for Little Looie and Al Smith before the 1963 season.  The parallel to the Frank Robinson trade I found interesting is that the Sox seemed to think that Aparicio was over the hill and done.  He'd showed up overweight for the 1962 season, didn't have a great year (still won a Gold Glove, made both All Star Games and lead the league in steals...and caught stealing) and the Sox tried to decrease his salary.  Aparicio demanded a trade and the Sox shipped him to Baltimore.  It was a good trade for both teams as Wilhelm went on to do great things for the Sox but Aparicio seemed to have a good impact on his new team.

The Orioles bumped their win total to 86 in '63 and then 97 in 1964.  The left side of the Orioles infield in 1964 must have been a sight to behold as Brooks won the MVP and a Gold Glove and Aparicio won a Gold Glove as well.

The Orioles shipped him back to the White Sox after 1967 for...Don Buford, who'd go on to be a stud leadoff man for the '68-'72 teams.  Aparicio, IMO, played an interesting part in Orioles history as he helped shore up the defense for some really good teams and a great one in 1966.  But the piece he was traded for in '67 was super important as well.  

When searching for greatest players in Orioles history, his name doesn't come up too often.  And I'm not saying he belongs in the top 15 or even 20 (but I think you could make a case).  After Aparicio, the Orioles certainly had their share of great shortstops with guys like Belanger, Cal, and Tejada so I think he's certainly overshadowed by them.  That said, I don't think many teams could boast a Mount Rushmore of shortstops like that.  

But as far as someone who was important from a playing perspective and for what he fetched in a trade to boost the franchise into the late 60s and early 70s, Luis Aparicio seems a pretty pivotal player that often gets overlooked in Orioles history.

I remember him very well.

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Yeah it’s funny to say since he’s a HoFer but Luis is definitely under appreciated in Orioles lore. I know that when I think of him, I think of him as a White Sox but he had some good years in Baltimore and won a WS.

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This guy was RoY with a .653 OPS. Was #2 in the MVP voting with a .647 OPS. 

This sport has really changed. He did lead the league in stolen bases 9 times.

P.S. I hope it's not moved quickly, but this thread should get memorialized in the Orioles History board.

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He played well for us during that time frame.   Then we got Don Buford in trading Luis back to the White Sox and this turned out extremely well for us. 

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