Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Saturday, June 5, 2010

1976 Topps #460 - Cesar Cedeno

  • Cesar Cedeno was one of those "what might have been" players. He started off like gangbusters but his career was never the same after the murder incident after the 1973 season. Cedeno was signed by the Houston Astros in 1967. He started playing in the minors at the age of 17 in 1968. By 1970 Cesar was ready for the majors. He was batting .373 for AAA Oklahoma City when he was called up to the Astros in June of 1970. Cedeno played in 90 games for the Astros in 1970, batted .310, and finished 4th in NL Rookie of the Year voting.
  • Cedeno led the NL with 40 doubles in 1971 but his batting average dipped to .264 and his on base percentage was only .293. Cesar Cedeno - Baseball's Next Superstar? - July 1971 Baseball Digest
  • Cesar made the first of four All Star games in 1972. He played CF and went 1 for 2 with a run scored. Cedeno batted .320, led the NL with 39 doubles, stole 55 bases, and hit 22 home runs. Cesar finished 6th in NL MVP voting and won his first Gold Glove award. Cesar Cedeno...The Next Super Star? - August 19, 1972 Sporting News. Cesar Cedeno: A New Clemente in the Making - November 1972 Baseball Digest.
  • Cedeno's 1973 season was a virtual carbon copy of his 1972 year. He batted .320 again, hit 35 doubles and 25 HR, stole 56 bases, went 1 for 3 with an RBI in the All Star game, and won another Gold Glove.
  • After the 1973 season Cedeno was involved in an incident that would be an albatross over the rest of his career (and his life). He and a mistress were drinking in a hotel room when she picked up Cesar's gun. Cesar tried to get the gun away from her and it went off. The mistress was killed and Cedeno fled the scene. He turned himself in eight hours later. He spent the Christmas holiday in jail, was charged with involunary manslaughter, and was released after paying a 100 peso fine. Cesar was heckled during spring training in 1974. He said that the incident wouldn't affect his playing, but there is a dropoff in his stats after the 1973 season.
  • Cedeno made the All Star team again in 1974 (he was 0 for 2 with a strikeout) and won his third straight Gold Glove. Cesar batted .269 with 26 HR and 102 RBI and also stole 57 bases. In 1975 he batted .288 and stole 50 bases, but his home run total dipped to 13. Cesar won another Gold Glove but didn't make the NL All Star team. Cesar Cedeno: Will He Ever Reach His Potential? - August 1975 Baseball Digest.
  • Cesar made his fourth (and last) All Star team in 1976. He struck out and hit a 2-run homer in the game. Cedeno batted .297 with 18 HR and 83 RBI and also stole 58 bases. Cesar won his fifth and final Gold Glove award in 1976. Cesar Cedeno -- How Good A Player is He - Really? -- November 1976 Baseball Digest.
  • Cedeno batted .279 with 14 HR and 71 RBI and stole 61 bases in 1977. In 1978 Cesar was injured and missed 3 1/2 months of the season. He batted .281 in 50 games in '78. Cesar Cedeno: The Best All-Around Center Fielder - May 1978 Baseball Digest.
  • Cesar played about 2/3 of his games at first base in 1979. He batted .262 in 132 games, hit 6 home runs, and stole 30 bases.
  • Cedeno's last really big year was 1980. He went back to center field, played in 136 games, and batted .309 with 10 HR, 73 RBI, and 48 stolen bases. Cesar batted .182 in three games in the 1980 NLCS.
  • Cesar split time between first base and center field in 1981. He batted .271 in 82 games and batted .214 in the NLDS. After the 1981 season Cedeno was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Ray Knight.
  • The 1982 season was Cesar's last as a full-time player. He batted .289 in 138 games but his home run (8) and stolen base (16) totals were way down. Cedeno had a stint on the DL in 1983 and batted .232 in 98 games. In 1984 Cesar was a fourth outfielder and backup first baseman. He batted .276 with 10 HR in 110 games.
  • Cedeno had the same role with the Reds in 1985. Cesar was batting .241 in 83 games when he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for a minor leaguer on August 29. The Cardinals needed someone to play first base after Jack Clark was injured. Cedeno batted .434 in 28 games for the Cards and helped them to the NL East title. He didn't do much for them in the playoffs (.167 in the NLCS and .182 in the World Series).
  • Cesar became a free agent after the 1985 season and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training. Cedeno didn't make the Toronto ballclub and he was released at the end of spring training. Cesar was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and stayed with them for about six weeks. Cedeno batted .237 in 31 games before he was released on June 5. Cesar signed with the Cardinals and went to AAA Louisville in July 1986 but he retired after batting .169 in 20 games for Louisville.
  • Cedeno had a couple of other run-ins with the law (usually involving women) after his playing career. He coached hitting and fielding in the Dominican Republic for several years after his retirement as an active player. He now coaches with the Gulf Coast League affiliate of the Washington Nationals.
  • Liked to face: Dale Murray (.550 in 20 AB); Woodie Fryman (.458 in 24 AB); Ron Bryant (.435 in 23 AB)
  • Hated to face: Orel Hershiser (.000 in 13 AB); Tim Lollar (.050 in 20 AB); Tug McGraw (.115 in 26 AB)

1 comment:

  1. Great Kissinger cartoon on the back. And what about Cedeno's helmet? No logo?