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05/26/2005 3:07 PM ET
Former White Sox shortstop Chico Carrasquel passes away
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CHICAGO - Alfonso "Chico" Carrasquel, a beloved member of the Chicago White Sox family for nearly six decades, died today at his home in Caracas, Venezuela, at age 77. Carrasquel reportedly died of a heart attack caused by complications from a long battle with diabetes.

"Venezuela lost one of its heroes today," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, the first native of Venezuela to manage a major-league club in his second season with the Sox. "As the first great Venezuelan shortstop, Chico helped put our country on the baseball map. I am honored and proud to have known him as a friend and will miss seeing him in my office each day at the ballpark. He was such a great friend, person and role model for young players."

The first in a line of legendary Venezuelan shortstops to play on the South Side, Carrasquel's place in the baseball record books and the hearts of Venezuelans is secure, and he will be remembered for being an All-Star on the field and a great man in the community. He was succeeded at shortstop for the White Sox by a fellow Venezuelan, Hall-of-Famer Luis Aparicio.

"I was saddened to hear of the passing of Chico Carrasquel," Aparicio said today from his home in Venezuela. "Chico was my hero and mentor. He took me under his wing, and I'm grateful to him for making me the ballplayer that I turned out to be."

Carrasquel made his major-league debut on April 19, 1950, quickly becoming a fan favorite with a 24-game hitting streak during his rookie season, which remains the fifth-longest streak in club history. A member of the early Go-Go White Sox teams from 1950-55, he led the American League in fielding in 1951, '53 and '54 and was recognized as the first Latin American native to earn an All-Star berth (1951).

He played for four teams during his career, retiring with 1,199 hits, nearly 500 walks and 474 RBI in 10 major-league seasons with four All-Star appearances.

Beginning in 1990, Carrasquel spent seven years as a color commentator for Spanish-language broadcasts of White Sox games. Carrasquel was a familiar face among White Sox fans, working as a longtime member of the club's community relations staff and a beloved member of the Chicago White Sox family. He was known for his gentle nature, his pride in his home country and his life-long love of baseball.

On U.S. Cellular Field's Opening Day in 2004 - Guillen's first as manager of the White Sox - Carrasquel joined Guillen, Aparicio and Guillen's boyhood hero, Dave Concepcion, in an historic gathering of great Venezuelan shortstops.

The White Sox will pay tribute to Carrasquel before the game on Monday, May 30. A video montage will be played on the center field scoreboard, followed by the playing of the Venezuelan national anthem.

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