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César Cedeño
Center fielder
Born: February 25, 1951 (1951-02-25) (age 59)
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
Career statistics
Batting average     .285
Home runs     199
Runs batted in     976
Stolen bases     550
Teams
Career highlights and awards

César Cedeño Encarnación (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsesar seˈðeɲo]; born February 25, 1951 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is a former center fielder in Major League Baseball who played with the Houston Astros (1970-81), Cincinnati Reds (1982-85), St. Louis Cardinals (1985) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1986). He batted and threw right-handed.

Signed by Houston as an amateur free agent in 1967, Cedeño debuted on June 20, 1970 at 19 years of age. He never became "The next Willie Mays", as Houston manager Leo Durocher once suggested he would, but certainly he had a distinguished career and was a solid performer in the Major Leagues.

Cedeño showed signs of superstardom early in his career, batting .310 in his rookie season in 1970, and .320 in both 1972 and 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 1974.

Ironically, Cedeño's career was hampered by his aggressive fielding style which often led to injuries. Cedeño's career was also dogged by an incident in which his gun accidentally discharged in a motel room, killing his girlfriend.

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 1972 All-Star game, Cedeño beat out Roberto Clemente for the starting NL position. Cedeño also hit for the cycle in both 1972 and 1976.

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. On August 29, 1985, he was traded for an outfielder named Mark Jackson to the St. Louis Cardinals where he hit .434 with 6 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; he played 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. He finished his career with the Dodgers and played his final game on June 2, 1986.

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 25th 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.

After retiring, Cedeño has been both a fielding and hitting coach in the Dominican and Venezuelan winter leagues. He currently coaches the Gulf Coast League affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

See also

Quote

  • A talented player in the mold of Willie Mays, César Cedeño never reached superstar status for many reasons, some beyond his control. The Dominican-born Cedeño was involved in a scandalous off-the-field episode that resulted in the death of his girlfriend; played much of his career for a team that rarely made headlines above the Oklahoma border; suffered from playing in the Astrodome, a stadium that cost him power numbers that may have gave him notoriety; and finally, injuries and attitude problems cost him playing time. Despite all of that, Cedeño had a very good career, winning five Gold Gloves and finishing among league leaders in steals, batting average, and doubles on many occasions. -- Dan Holmes and Kirk Robinson, at The Baseball Page.

External links

Preceded by
Bob Watson
National League Player of the Month
June 1972
Succeeded by
Billy Williams
Preceded by
George Foster
National League Player of the Month
September 1977
Succeeded by
Rick Monday
Preceded by
Lee May
Houston Astros Longest Hitting Streak
1977-1981
Succeeded by
Art Howe
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