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César Cedeño Encarnación (born February 25, 1951) is a former professional baseball center fielder. He played seventeen seasons in Major League Baseball from 1970 to 1986 for the Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a 17-year career, Cedeño was a .285 hitter with 199 home runs and 976 RBI in 2006 games. His 550 stolen bases rank him 27th on the all-time list, and the 487 steals he accumulated with the Astros ranks him first on the franchise's all-time leader list ahead of superstar Craig Biggio.[1]

César Cedeño
Cesar Cedeno - Houston Astros.jpg
Center fielder
Born: (1951-02-25) February 25, 1951 (age 68)
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 20, 1970, for the Houston Astros
Last MLB appearance
June 2, 1986, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB statistics
Batting average.285
Home runs199
Runs batted in976
Stolen bases550
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Baseball careerEdit

Houston AstrosEdit

Signed by Houston as an amateur free agent in 1967, Cedeño debuted on June 20, 1970 at 19 years of age. His .310 batting average in his rookie season in 1970, allowed him to finish 4th in the Rookie of the Year voting. The very next year, he led the Major Leagues in doubles.[2] The following season, his third, he again led in doubles, not just his league, but in the majors. He batted .320 in both 1972 and 1973. In 1972, Cedeño hit 22 home runs, had 55 stolen bases, and again led the league in doubles. He won a Gold Glove Award that season as well. Houston manager Leo Durocher once compared Cedeño to Willie Mays, saying "At 22 Cedeño is as good or better than Willie was at the same age,".[2]

 
Cedeño, circa 1973

Possessing a rare combination of power, blazing speed, and good defense, he became the second man in Major League history (after Lou Brock in 1967) to hit 20 home runs and steal 50 bases in one season. Cedeño accomplished the feat three years in a row (1972–1974). He also stole 50-plus bases the next three years (1975–1977), twice led the league in doubles (1971–1972) and collected 102 RBI in the 1974 season. He would finish in the top ten of stolen base leaders from 1971-1978 and again in 1980. His 550 stolen bases rank 27th all time as of January 2018.[1]

On the negative side, Cedeño's career was hampered by an aggressive fielding style which often led to injuries.

A winner of five consecutive Gold Glove Awards (1972–1976), Cedeño appeared in four All-Star Games (1972–1974; 1976), and was a contender for the National League MVP in 1972. In the All-Star Game of that year, Cedeño beat out Roberto Clemente for the starting National League position. Cedeño also hit for the cycle in both 1972 and 1976.[3][4]

On September 9, 1981, while playing at Atlanta Stadium, Cedeño entered the stands to confront a heckler.[5] No punches were thrown and no charges were filed, but Cedeño was ejected from the game and immediately suspended as a result.[5] On September 11, Cedeño was fined $5000 by National League President Chub Feeney but received no further suspension, as Cedeño apologized to the fan on the phone and in writing which Feeney cited as "mitigating circumstances".[5]

Cincinnati RedsEdit

On December 18, 1981, Cedeño was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Ray Knight [6]

By 1985, Cedeño was one of the Reds' five active members of the 2000-hit club, along with Pete Rose, Tony Pérez, Dave Concepción and Buddy Bell.

St Louis CardinalsEdit

On August 29, 1985, he was traded for an outfielder named Mark Jackson to the St. Louis Cardinals, where he hit .434 with six home runs in 28 games, and arguably provided the necessary power for his new team to outpace the New York Mets to reach the playoffs. With only one month left in the season, Cedeño had the Cardinals' longest hitting streak during their 1985 season.[7] He then played at first base to replace the injured Jack Clark in the final regular season games, and played in the outfield in the playoffs to help replace the injured Vince Coleman. Cedeno was granted free agency on November 12, 1985.

Los Angeles DodgersEdit

Cedeño finished his career with the Dodgers and played his final game on June 2, 1986.

Estrellas OrientalesEdit

In between, Cedeño played six seasons for the Estrellas Orientales club of the Dominican Winter League, and reinforced the Tigres del Licey in the 1972 Caribbean Series. He later played with the Gold Coast Suns of the Senior Professional Baseball Association in its 1989 inaugural season.

Career StatisticsEdit

In 17 seasons, Cedeño was in 2006 games played, compiling a .285 batting average (2087-7310), with 436 doubles, 60 triples, 199 home runs, 976 RBI, 550 stolen bases, 664 walks, a .347 on-base percentage and .443 slugging percentage. In 17 post-season games, he hit only .173 (9-52). He played first base and all three outfield positions and recorded a .985 fielding percentage.

Coaching CareerEdit

After retiring, Cedeño has been both a fielding and hitting coach in the Dominican and Venezuelan winter leagues. He also served as a coach for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League farm team of the Washington Nationals before being let go in 2009. After that, he served as a hitting coach for the Greenville Astros of the Appalachian League.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

On December 11, 1973, Cedeño was involved in an incident in the Dominican Republic in which a gun discharged in a motel room, killing a 19-year-old woman who was in the room with him. Authorities said Cedeño and the woman were drinking and playing with a gun when the gun fired, killing the 19-year-old. [9] He was initially charged with voluntary manslaughter[10] and held in prison without bail, while his lawyers negotiated for a reduction of the charge to involuntary manslaughter.[11] He was held for 20 days before he was released on bail.[12] He was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and fined $100.[13]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Cesar Cedeno Stats". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Schoenfield, David (August 8, 2012). "The cautionary tale of Cesar Cedeno". ESPN.
  3. ^ "Houston Astros 10, Cincinnati Reds 1". Retrosheet. August 2, 1972.
  4. ^ "Houston Astros 13, St. Louis Cardinals 4". Retrosheet. August 9, 1976.
  5. ^ a b c Taylor, Gary (August 8, 2012). "Houston Astros first baseman Cesar Cedeno was fined $5000". UPI.
  6. ^ "Ray Knight Trades and Transactions by Baseball Almanac". Baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 2019-05-25.
  7. ^ Jim Tommey and Kip Ingle, ed. (1987). St. Louis Cardinals 1987 Media Guide. St. Louis National Baseball Club. p. 153.
  8. ^ "César Cedeño - Hitting Coach". MiLB.com. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  9. ^ "The cautionary tale of Cesar Cedeno - SweetSpot". ESPN. 2012-08-08. Retrieved 2019-05-25.
  10. ^ "The Evening Independent - Google News Archive Search".
  11. ^ "Lodi News-Sentinel - Google News Archive Search".
  12. ^ "Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Google News Archive Search".
  13. ^ "Astros' Cedeno found guilty of involuntary manslaughter".

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Bob Watson
George Foster
National League Player of the Month
June 1972
September 1977
Succeeded by
Billy Williams
Rick Monday
Preceded by
Dave Kingman
Lyman Bostock
Hitting for the cycle
August 2, 1972
August 9, 1976
Succeeded by
Bobby Murcer
Mike Hegan