Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago White Sox [Print without images]

Monday, February 8, 2010
Vizquel turns to Luis after Ozzie says 'No'


Future Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel talked about the honor of wearing Luis Aparicio’s No. 11 in his inaugural season with the Chicago White Sox.

“This is a tremendous honor for me to wear the number of Luis Aparicio,” Vizquel said Monday. “All I want to do is wear his number and honor his name.”

The White Sox have had three icons from Venezuela starring at shortstop in Aparicio, Ozzie Guillen and Chico Carrasquel. Vizquel will be the fourth.

The idea to wear Aparicio’s number came about after Vizquel got up the nerve to ask the Hall of Famer about wearing his number during a celebration to name a new field in Venezuela after Aparicio.

“I was sitting around with some of my friends, and we wanted to honor Luis Aparicio in some way,” Vizquel said. “When I signed with the White Sox, we were wondering if No. 11 was available to use.

“One of those days when I was hanging out with Luis Aparicio, I had the courage to ask him to see if he would let me wear his number and honor his name. He thought about it for a while, then he said it would be great and it would be nice that No. 11 comes out on the field again. Then he said if anyone is going to wear that number, I want you to do it.”

Vizquel wore No. 13 for his entire career, the same number Guillen wears. I asked Vizquel if he had first approached Guillen about switching out uniform numbers.

“When I signed with the White Sox, the first thing Ozzie said was, ‘You can forget about No. 13, that’s going to be my number,’” Vizquel said. “He knows that’s my number, and I really would love to wear it. But I think what he has done for the Chicago White Sox, bringing a championship and all the years he’s played here, No. 13 already has a name.”

I asked Vizquel about the significance of No. 13, normally a bad-luck number in the United States.

“It’s been a good-luck number for a lot of us in Venezuela,” Vizquel said. “No. 13 was Dave Concepcion’s number, and Ozzie’s number. They were my idols coming into the league. I know No. 13 is in good hands. No. 13 will be living for Venezuelan shortstops forever.”

The 43-year-old Vizquel, almost certainly first-ballot Hall of Famer five years after he retires, played 66 games for the Texas Rangers in 2009 without making an error. Vizquel will back up second, short and third. Guillen is on record saying he hopes to get Vizquel a lot of playing time