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Luis ‘Little Louie’ Aparicio still getting to second base at Sox park

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Updated: May 28, 2012 8:55AM

White Sox Hall of Fame shortstop Luis Aparicio hasn’t played big league ball in nearly 40 years, but the guy still gets to second base at Sox Park.

Well, sort of.

It’s the bronze statue of “Little Louie” in the center field concourse — Aparicio crouched in perfect position, with his arms outstretched, glove open and throwing hand ready — that’s turning double plays.

Inning after inning at a recent game, lady Sox fans — college girls, young professionals and even suburban moms — had their pals take pictures while they gave the Aparicio sculpture a hand — well, handful might be closer to the truth. A few guys choked on their beers watching Sox fan Sara Kudla, 25, of Lincoln Park strike a few titillating poses with Aparicio.

What inspires a woman to strategically shove herself into the bronzed hands of the baseball legend?

“I don’t know how appropriate the reasoning behind it is,” Kudla said. “The statues are a fun hands-on aspect of the stadium. And with Luis’ statue reaching out, I thought I’d give him a little hands-on experience right back.”

It’s that kind of thinking that adds the Aparicio statue to a short list of popular pieces of public art in Chicago — the over-sized statute of Marilyn Monroe and the anatomically correct moose on Michigan Avenue, for instance — that provide the backdrop for risqué cell phone photo shoots. Well, that and Aparicio’s short stature, which kept the Cleveland Indians from signing him in 1954 — and apparently makes his statue just the right height for that sort of thing.

Gary Tillery, the artist who crafted the Aparicio sculpture, said he doesn’t mind the home game ritual that his work has inspired.

“It’s always a pleasure to have your art accepted by the public, but this is a much warmer reception than I had hoped for,” Tillery said. “It certainly proves that Sox fans have more fun.”

In 2006, when the Sox unveiled the statue, which is paired with a bronze likeness of the late second baseman Nellie Fox, Aparicio called the honor “one of my biggest moments in baseball.”

Aparicio, who turns 78 on Sunday, couldn’t be reached in his native Venezuela to comment about all the attention his statue gets from the ladies.

For now, the statue speaks for itself.

Look closely; the bronze Little Louie wears quite a grin.

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