(Originally published as a prelude to “Free The Birds” in Sept. 2006, this is Part 8 of a 19 Chapter Series on How Baseball and the Orioles berthed WNST.net. This is one of my favorite chapters of the book because this is when I started dreaming of making a career in journalism as a 15-year old kid and committing my life to reporting about Baltimore sports.)
It’d be nice to say that having the last name “Aparicio” would’ve opened some doors for me in the sports media business over the past 22 years.
There aren’t a whole lot of names in the world that are so unique in our culture that there’s only been one really famous person who’s ever had it.
If my name would have been Smith or Jones, things might have been different, who knows?
But clearly, APARICIO is synonymous with one thing: BASEBALL!
And the truth in the real world is this: no one hires incompetent people based on their last name. Sure, it’s nice to have a door opened if your last name is Buck or Albert or Carey, but if you stink at doing your job, it’ll be the only job you’ll ever get.
Most of those “prodigy” guys are VERY, VERY good at what they do and the bar was set so high by their fathers that it’s hard to achieve anything that surpasses what their last name already represents.
I know because the reason I went into this radio business was because of an invitation from Kenny Albert — son of the great Marv Albert — who I knew from covering the Baltimore Skipjacks of the American Hockey League in 1990 and 1991 for The Evening Sun.
The first time I met Kenny was at the NHL All-Star Game in Pittsburgh in 1989. He doesn’t remember that league party at a downtown hotel, but I do. We were both born in 1968, both absolutely loved sports but we had completely different paths to finding each other.
I was just an East Baltimore kid who was a fan of sports — a major sports fan whose Pop would run around with me on MTA buses to go to games downtown at the Civic Center and out on 33rd Street.
Kenny Albert was the son of one of the most famous broadcasters in sports. Marv Albert had taken Kenny to games almost since berth. Kenny had been not only to most major sporting events in New York — his Dad was the voice of the Rangers AND the Knicks — but his Dad also did NBA playoff games, NFL games and the MLB Game of the Week each Saturday on NBC.
In the broadcasting business, unless your name was Cosell or