Chapter 2: “Aparicio” means baseball to most people

March 06, 2012 | Nestor Aparicio

in my life as you’ll later learn). I went to see him in 1987 and 1989. I haven’t chatted with him since March 1996. The Ravens didn’t even have a jersey color or logo!

Such is life as an Aparicio, especially on the gringo side.

Luis Aparicio was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in January 1984. The next month I found out I had a pregnant girlfriend. In August 1984 he was inducted into the Hall in Cooperstown, N.Y. My girlfriend was eight months pregnant. I watched and videotaped the entire ceremony.

I’ve been to Cooperstown three times. The first time, in 1989, I walked into the actual hall where the famous plaques are and I drifted toward one area to the left. I looked up, and “APARICIO” was the first plaque I glanced at.

Coincidence? I guess so, but it was still pretty neat. It was beautiful, it was in the hallowed Hall of Fame and it had my name on it. Nes at Cooperstown plaque
Every time I go into Comiskey Park on the southside of Chicago — and I’ve probably seen 15 games there over the years, including a few in the old barn — there it is out on the outfield wall in giant letters: 11 APARICIO. And every single time I go I always seem to forget what a beloved and respected player Luis Aparicio was in Chicago. It really doesn’t even occur to me until I walk into the bowl of the stadium and it hits my like Broadway lights, that giant sign!

Again, I sorta lived there on and off for the better part of three years and it never really sunk in so much, except when I had to provide ID at the airport or a hotel or a restaurant.
The last time I saw Luis Aparicio was at the Chicago All Star Game in 2003. It was the week before I was getting married and I told him so. He congratulated me and spent a few minutes with me, was actually very nice and extremely cordial.

But, quite frankly, we really don’t have much to talk about. He is slated to return to Baltimore next month for the Sports Legends Museum’s 1966 Reunion

(For the record: It’s an absolute disgrace that the BALTIMORE Orioles of 1966 were not honored by the Angelos family and this franchise this season at Camden Yards. Just one of the many incomprehensible decisions that will draw thousands of you to the Inner Harbor for The Rally on Sept. 21.)

Last year, I finally sold that 1973 gray Red Sox road jersey (which incidentally, for Drew Forrester’s crowd, says BOSTON in big red letters) last year at a major baseball auction. I was, quite frankly, just “done with it,” after owning it for more than 20 years and I was afraid a moth would get to it. It just didn’t mean anything to me anymore.
To me, it was just an item, albeit a valuable one, and it literally stayed in the back of my closet for all of these 20 years — and I mean the back of the closet. But I’m glad someone has it and will treasure it, frame it and think of good thoughts when he or she sees it.

To me, it’s just a name.

I’m an Aparicio.  For better or worse.

And my last name is synonymous, almost everywhere I go, with baseball and probably always will be.

And that’s really the cool part for me at this point in my life.