Orlando Cepeda
Puerto Rican baseball player
Orlando Cepeda
Orlando Manuel "Peruchin" Cepeda Pennes is a former Puerto Rican Major League Baseball first baseman. Cepeda was born to a poor family. His father, Pedro Cepeda, was a baseball player in Puerto Rico, which influenced his interest in the sport from a young age. His first contact with professional baseball was as a batboy for the Santurce Crabbers of Puerto Rico. Pedro Zorilla, the team's owner persuaded his family to let him attend a New York Giants tryout.
Orlando Cepeda's personal information overview.
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A Film to Help Baseball Fans Through the Winter
Huffington Post - over 1 year
One of the most famous moments in baseball history occurred in game one of the 1954 World Series when New York Giants centerfielder Willie Mays made a spectacular catch, followed by an equally extraordinary throw, of a long fly ball off the bat of Cleveland Indians slugger Vic Wertz. Most baseball fans know that play and have seen the image of Mays with his back towards home plate sprinting into deep centerfield at the old Polo Grounds, as it is generally regarded as the greatest catch in World Series history. More intense fans are familiar with a beautifully and compellingly written account of that game by Arnold Hano, a noted sportswriter who was in the centerfield bleachers at the Polo Grounds for that game. Hano's book, A Day in the Bleachers, is one of the ten or twenty baseball books that all fans should read. Hano, it turns out, is also led a fascinating life in and around baseball as both a writer and a fan. His story has now been told by filmmaker Jon Leonoudakis in his new ...
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Huffington Post article
The passing reflections in the side of the piano
San Francisco Chronicle - over 3 years
The show, which started so late because Luna was performing earlier at Davies with the Buena Vista Social Club, was the brainchild of Rick Swig, who'd met Luna long ago in Cuba. The Joe Henderson Lab - a smallish performance space in a corner of the ground floor - was packed, the audience rapt, from Luna's first notes of "My One and Only Love." Jazz fans on hand included baseball great Orlando Cepeda and Pier 23/Sweetie's Art Bar owner/artist Flicka McGurrin (whose "Cold Water Swimmers" paintings, shimmering at night, I hear, are right now in the windows at Bank of America headquarters). Inside, the headlights of passing cars were reflected as moving bars of light in the high-gloss ebony finish on the piano. Each event, says organizer Will Hearst (yes, his family's company makes a weekly deposit in my bank account) includes a series of panels, conversations and talk (see www.writingfromcalifornia.com). The featured session in San Francisco is an Oct. 4, 4:30 p.m. conversation betw ...
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San Francisco Chronicle article
UPDATE: Hunter Pence achieves milestone in SF Giants game vs. Rockies
San Francisco Chronicle - over 3 years
UPDATE, 8:15 p.m.: With a three-run homer in the first inning of tonight’s game against the Rockies, Hunter Pence reached 20 for the season, making him the first Giant since Barry Bonds in 1998 to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season.  Pence is the third player in the majors this season to reach 20-20. The others are Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies and Mike Trout of the Angels. Before Pence, six Giants had at least 20 homers and 20 steals in a season a total of 21 times. Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds and Barry Bonds did it six times apiece. Orlando Cepeda, Jeffrey Leonard and [...]
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San Francisco Chronicle article
Cubs Struggle At Plate Again, Lose 6-2 To Pirates
Huffington Post - over 3 years
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs struggled at the plate for a second straight game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. A.J. Burnett pitched into the ninth inning and Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin homered to lead the Pirates to a 6-2 win over the Cubs on Saturday. "We didn't have a whole lot going on for the most part," Chicago manager Dale Sveum said. Burnett (4-6) allowed three walks with five strikeouts in 8 1-3 innings to improve to 5-0 in his career at Wrigley Field. He had a shutout until Alfonso Soriano's two-run home run to left with one out in the ninth ended a string of 18 straight scoreless innings by Pirates pitchers. "It was the only ball that hung," Burnett said of the pitch Soriano hit. "He did with it what you're supposed to do with it. I go back a long way with Sori. We played a long time together. I've gotten him a few times, he's gotten me." Burnett held the Cubs hitless until Nate Schierholtz's double down the line in right leading off the fi ...
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Baseball Club Looking for Travel Team Talent
Calabasas Patch - over 4 years
  Some local baseball talent may soon get the opportunity of a lifetime to play overseas next summer. “We are looking for boys from 12 to 18 years old, to try out and be part of our travel team to Puerto Rico next August,” said Ramiro Adeva, the Southern California representative of Cepeda Baseball Club (CBC). The Northern California-based club is owned by hall of famer and former San Francisco Giant Orlando Cepeda. Last summer, the club brought two teams of American-born teen baseball players to the Dominican Republic to play against local teams. CBC hopes to duplicate that feat but in Cepeda’s native Puerto Rico this time. Dubbed the 1st annual Cepeda Baseball Caribbean Classic, the tournament from August 1 to 7 will feature daily double-headers plus a sprinkling of Puerto Rican culture including a trip to a local baseball hall of fame museum. The former hall of famer is expected to grace the opening ceremony and throw the first pitch. “My dad is expected to be ther ...
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Calabasas Patch article
Double Play Bar a shrine to baseball
San Francisco Chronicle - over 4 years
Double Play Bar a shrine to baseball If there was ever a shrine to baseball in San Francisco, old and new, it is probably the Double Play Bar and Grill at 16th and Bryant streets. History was made at Seals Stadium on April 15, 1958 - the first major-league game on the West Coast. Orlando Cepeda, a rookie, hit a home run. The Double Play was rocking, was jammed to the rafters just the other night for the first game of the World Series. Nice guys, heroes The customers were three deep at the bar; they stood up in the booths, yelling, high-fiving, cheering. All the Giants were heroes, making shoe-top catches, hitting the ball into the gaps, humbling the Tigers. Alex Long came from Berkeley; he left his wife and baby daughter home. Jessica Kring came to the Double Play from North Carolina. Between innings, the patrons toured the bar; peeked in the back dining room, which has a mural of the old Seals Stadium, the Sistine Chapel of old-time baseball in San Franci ...
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San Francisco Chronicle article
Paula Mangin: Scoring a Giant Fashion Home Run
Huffington Post - over 4 years
I was born a Giants fan. My dad loved and followed them when they still played at the Polo Grounds in New York, and was thrilled when they moved to San Francisco in 1958 and played their first two seasons at Seals Stadium on 16th & Bryant before Candlestick Park was completed. The San Francisco Seals minor league team had toiled there, across the street from the Double Play Bar & Restaurant, which still stands and hangs historic photos from back in the day when Joe DiMaggio bellied up to the bar for a beer and a burger. I was 5 when dad took me to my first game at the Stick, where we watched both Willies (Mays and McCovey), Juan Marichal and Orlando Cepeda play. We'd go on to spend many afternoons in that cold windy park out in the forlorn far corner of southern San Francisco. It was heaven. My younger brother, who horned in when he was old enough (much to my dismay) now spends thousands of hours at AT&T park shooting the Giants for Sports Illustrated and Major ...
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Huffington Post article
22 Latino Baseball Players On Combined World Series Rosters Most Ever?
Huffington Post - over 4 years
Latino baseball players have for a long time held a strong and persistant presence in Major League Baseball. MLB has come a very long way from the dark days of racial segregation, and has subsequently been embraced internationally over the years -- and nowhere more than in Latin countries and culture. [Scroll down for photos of the Latino players on this year's World Series rosters] The 2012 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Detroit Tigers has reached a milestone beyond the fact that this is the first time these two historic teams have clashed in the World Series. If you combine both teams' World Series rosters, there are a total of 22 Latino baseball players. Nearly half of all of the players in this year's World Series are of Latino descent or were born in a Latin American country. Going back through the World Series roster records to 2000, the closest number to 2012 was in 2010 when the Giants squared off against the Texas Rangers, with both of ...
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The evolution of a baseball town
San Francisco Chronicle - over 4 years
The evolution of a baseball town On the very last play of Game 7, Willie Mays was standing on second base with Orlando Cepeda in the on-deck circle, Willie McCovey at the plate. Combined career homers: 1,560. The Bay Area rainstorms were so bad, the Giants traveled to the valley-dry town of Modesto for workouts (shades of 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake prompted the A's to visit their spring training headquarters in Phoenix to stay sharp). [...] in uniform, Stewart drove to the site of the collapsed Nimitz Freeway in Oakland, looking for his sister, Brenda, a commuting regular on that stretch of highway. Upon learning she was safe at home, Stewart returned to the disaster site with food and other supplies. If he found himself unable to sleep in the middle of the night, he'd drive from his Emeryville home back to Oakland, wherever it seemed his comforting presence would be most welcomed. In a city with only flickering glimpses of power, the St. Francis ...
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San Francisco Chronicle article
Would a trade upset the Giants' karma?
San Francisco Chronicle - over 4 years
Would a trade upset the Giants' karma? There's a certain anxiety in the clubhouse, and as one longtime observer put it this week, "It's the only time of year when guys take batting practice with their cell phones in their back pockets." There was a certain destiny to the Giants' 2010 championship from the moment Texas' Ian Kinsler hit a ball that should have cleared the center-field fence for a home run in Game 2 of the World Series, but didn't, instead settling into that last inch of padding and falling back onto the field. Rail to your heart's content about the current club's vulnerability, from Brandon Belt's slump to the lack of a reliable closer to a lineup that won't stir anyone's memory of Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Jack Clark, Barry Bonds or the many other power hitters - dozens in number - over the franchise's rich history. Once you realize that none of the other Western Division clubs is even the slightest bit frightening, you look for the signs - n ...
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San Francisco Chronicle article
Giants' All-Stars have a lot to live up to in K.C.
San Francisco Chronicle - over 4 years
Giants' All-Stars have a lot to live up to in K.C. No pressure on Buster Posey and his three All-Star teammates, but there's a lot to live up to. Bonds homered and doubled and was named MVP in the National League's 7-1 rout of the American League at Royals Stadium, and Mays' game-opening triple ignited the NL's 5-3 victory at Municipal Stadium. No All-Star MVPs were given until 1962, but Mays would have been an obvious choice in '60 as the only player with three hits. In his final at-bat, he came a few feet from hitting for the cycle with a deep fly to right, and he was replaced in center field by Vada Pinson in the sixth inning. Bonds was called "the next Mays," which was both unfair and unachievable, but in the summer of '73, nobody was more gifted or productive than Bonds, who, at age 27, brought monster numbers into the All-Star break: .306 average, .397 on-base percentage, 25 homers, 64 RBIs and 28 steals in 97 games. The beat goes onIn Kansas City, it w ...
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Long before Hamilton, Goldsboro slugger George Altman created some MLB history
News Observer - almost 5 years
Goldsboro’s George Altman never hit four home runs in a Major League Baseball game, a feat accomplished by Raleigh’s Josh Hamilton on May 8 for the Texas Rangers. But the left-handed hitting Altman, in 1961, pulled off one of the more remarkable achievements in MLB history when he became the first player to hit two homers in one game off Los Angeles Dodger immortal Sandy Koufax, one of the most overpowering lefties ever. A 28-year-old outfielder for the Chicago Cubs at the time, Altman had the two homers and a single in four at-bats on Aug. 4, 1961. The game was played in Dodger Stadium, which was (still is) one of the most difficult hitting parks in the big leagues. The Cubs (44-58) won the game, 4-2, leaving the Dodgers 63-40 and Koufax 13-7. Koufax, in 12 seasons, surrendered only 204 homers in 2,324 innings, and 49 of those were hit by right-handed sluggers Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Ernie Banks, Orlando Cepeda and Felipe Alou. Koufax gave ...
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News Observer article
All-time NL Hispanic greats - ESPN (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
San Francisco Giants: There's a fun debate to be had over whether this ought to be the Baby Bull, Orlando Cepeda or their Dominican ace of the '60s, Juan Marichal. Much like Galarraga and Perez, Cepeda was a hard-hitting first baseman who got around
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Google News article
Yankees proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month - Yankees.com
Google News - over 5 years
This exhibit was unveiled earlier this year in a special ceremony with Puerto Rican Hall of Famer, Orlando Cepeda. On Saturday, September 17, the Yankees will join NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in a Taxi Health Fair in Washington Heights
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Google News article
Latino pitchers: The best of the best - MLB.com
Google News - over 5 years
One can only wonder what the standard-bearers -- talented ballplayers like Martin Dihigo, Adolfo Luque, the Alou brothers (Matty, Jesus and Felipe), Orlando Cepeda, Jose Mendez, Minnie Minoso, Lefty Gomez and Roberto Clemente -- think or would think
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Eric Hosmer and the AL rookie of the year award - Kansas City Star (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
And both Freeman and Hosmer have a chance to join this list: Eddie Matthews, Albert Pujols, Hal Trosky, Frank Robinson, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Al Kaline, Hank Aaron, Mel Ott, Cesar Cedeno, Ron Santo, Vada Pinson, Eddie Murray, Orlando Cepeda,
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300 homers, 2000 hits, and Adrian Beltre - Lone Star Ball
Google News - over 5 years
Those 14 consist of 10 Hall of Famers (Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Mel Ott, Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig, Orlando Cepeda, Al Kaline and Eddie Murray), 3 no-doubt, slam-dunk future Hall of Famers (Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr.,
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Orlando Cepeda
  • 2008
    Age 70
    In September 2008, the San Francisco Giants added a life size bronze statue on the 4th corner of the stadium to honor Orlando Cepeda as one of the greatest Giants of all time, joining other Hall of Fame players on the other three corners of the stadium.
    More Details Hide Details These include Willie Mays, Juan Marichal and Willie McCovey. Orlando Cepeda continues to be a part of the Giants front office staff and is often involved with the team's spring training activities. He is also recognized at Ponce's Parque de los Ponceños Ilustres in the area of sports.
    On September 6, 2008, the Giants unveiled a statue of Cepeda next to the installation.
    More Details Hide Details He is the fourth Giant to be honored with a statue; the other players are Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Juan Marichal. In a 1976 Esquire magazine article, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter", consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Cepeda, a Puerto Rican, was the first baseman on Stein's Latin team.
  • 2001
    Age 63
    In 2001, he won the Ernie Banks Positive Image Lifetime Achievement Award.
    More Details Hide Details The citation for the award reads, in part, "The legacy he is leaving is an impressive one indeed. His commitment to community service includes credentials for a Humanitarian Hall of Fame. He is now recognized nationally for his humanitarian efforts as an ambassador for baseball and the San Francisco Giants." It goes on to list many of his national and community contributions, including his regular visits to inner-city schools throughout the country in conjunction with HOPE: Helping Other People Excel. "Each December, Orlando tours as part of the Giants Christmas Caravan visiting hospitals, schools and youth groups including the UC San Francisco Medical Center pediatric cancer ward. He is a participant in Athletes Against AIDS. He is also a public speaker for the Omega Boys and Girls Club, counseling at-risk children in the San Francisco community. He is revered in the local community and a local band has a song that celebrates him.
  • 1994
    Age 56
    In 1994, his last year of eligibility by voting, he came within seven votes of being elected.
    More Details Hide Details In, he was elected by the Hall's Veterans Committee, joining Roberto Clemente as the only other Puerto Rican in Cooperstown. Cepeda belongs to fourteen halls of fame, the most by any Puerto Rican athlete: Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame (1990); Puerto Rico Baseball Hall of Fame (1991); Laredo Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame (1995); Santurce Hall of Fame (1997); Puerto Rico Sports Hall of Fame (1993); Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown (1999); Missouri Hall of Fame (2000); Guayama Hall of Fame (2000); Ponce Hall of Fame (2001); Cataño Hall of Fame (2002); Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum (2002), African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame (2007). San Francisco Giants Hall of Fame (2008) and Latinoamerican Baseball Hall of Fame (2010). Cepeda has been recognized nationally for his humanitarian efforts as an ambassador for baseball. He served as an honorary spokesman for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.
  • 1989
    Age 51
    Cepeda threw the honorary first pitch for the third game of the 1989 National League Championship Series, and also for a regular season game between the Giants and Dodgers on September 17, 1997, his 60th birthday.
    More Details Hide Details Cepeda has a place at the new Giants ballpark that opened in 2000. At AT&T Park he has his own concessions stand called "Orlando's". In their offering is the "Caribbean Cha Cha Bowl". In 2006, the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) approved a chapter for Puerto Rico, the first in Latin America, and named the chapter in honor of Cepeda. By the early 1990s, when his time of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame was beginning to run out, many Puerto Ricans, celebrities and ordinary citizens alike, began to campaign for his induction. Some international celebrities and former teammates also joined in the campaign.
  • 1987
    Age 49
    In 1987, Max Shapiro asked him to substitute for McCovey in a "fantasy baseball camp" in San Francisco, and although reluctuant at first, he accepted.
    More Details Hide Details Here he met and befriended publisher Laurence Hyman, who introduced Cepeda to San Francisco Giants' staff members and encouraged him to write to Al Rosen. After initially receiving no response, eventually Patrick J. Gallagher called to tell Cepeda that Rosen wanted to hire him as a scout. Cepeda worked in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and other Latin American countries during his first year, after which the Giants placed him on full-time payroll. Cepeda later worked as a "goodwill ambassador" for the Giants, attending activities in schools, hospitals and community centers, and he represented the Giants in programs aimed at Latin American communities. He also joined Sōka Gakkai International and participated in activities for the Puerto Rican communities in New York.
  • 1983
    Age 45
    Cepeda began practicing Nichiren Buddhism as a member of the Buddhist association Soka Gakkai International in 1983.
    More Details Hide Details One year later, he moved to Los Angeles, renting an apartment in Burbank. During this timeframe, his relationship with Fernandez deteriorated. She eventually left the house and returned to Puerto Rico with Malcom and Ali and filed a divorce suit. A friend introduced Cepeda to Mirian Ortiz, whom he eventually married.
  • 1978
    Age 40
    In 1978, after three days at trial, Cepeda was declared guilty of the drug possession charges and sentenced to five years of imprisonment.
    More Details Hide Details Cepeda served ten months in jail time and the balance of his sentence on probation. Following his release, a district attorney in Puerto Rico told the prison's warden that if Cepeda returned the mafia would likely attempt to kill him. leading to Cepeda's assignment to a "halfway house" in Philadelphia. After completing that program, Cepeda coached a LBPPR team in Bayamón, Puerto Rico and was later hired as a scout by the Chicago White Sox. In 1981, the team assigned him to work as a roving instructor with one of their Minor League Baseball club in Lynn, Massachusetts. Roland Hemond released him later that year, and he briefly worked as the Crabbers' coach.
  • 1973
    Age 35
    Cepeda tried a comeback in the LBPPR, but noticed that his body couldn't perform well, opting to retire instead. After retiring, he began experiencing several personal problems. He and Pino divorced in 1973, Cepeda had other relationships outside of wedlock, from which one son, Carl Cepeda, was born. After the couple separated, he met Nydia Fernandez, who was from Carolina, Puerto Rico. The couple married in 1975, fathering two children, Malcom and Ali.
    More Details Hide Details Later that year, Cepeda traveled to Colombia to direct a baseball clinic, and once there, he met a group of drug dealers who convinced him to put bags containing five pounds of cannabis in two boxes containing hand-made clothing. Cepeda had continued to use cannabis since 1965. He returned to Puerto Rico, waiting ten days before contacting the airport to see if the boxes had arrived. When Cepeda arrived to collect his cargo, he was told that they could not be released, since the shipping cost had not been covered. At that point, two police officers (who were aware of the packages' contents) instructed one of the air freight employees to give Cepeda the boxes with or without payment. An airport employee delivered the boxes to Cepeda's car, and once Cepeda returned to his vehicle, he was arrested and charged with drug possession. While on trial for that charge, Cepeda was arrested a second time, after a man alleged that Cepeda had pointed a gun at him. A third case was brought by Pino, seeking an increase in alimony and child support payments.
  • 1972
    Age 34
    On May 16, 1972, he hit two home runs against Houston.
    More Details Hide Details During this time Paul Richards had been replaced by Eddie Robinson as the team general manager. Robinson didn't assign treatment for Cepeda's leg, eventually deciding to trade him. In July, Cepeda was traded to the Oakland Athletics for Denny McLain. After playing for a week, he was hospitalized and underwent a second surgery on his injured knee. Cepeda remained in Oakland three months before returning to Puerto Rico. Upon arriving he received a telegram from Charlie Finley, the Athletics' owner, telling him that if he didn't respond within three days he would be released from his contract. Cepeda decided not to call, intending to retire from baseball. In 1973, the American League established the designated hitter role, hoping to improve attendance. The Boston Red Sox contacted him, telling him that his role with the team only required batting. Cepeda became the first player to sign a contract to exclusively play as a designated hitter. His first hit with the team was a walk-off home run to beat the New York Yankees. Cepeda had an average of .289 with 20 home runs and 86 RBIs in 550 at bats. He was also named Designated Hitter of the Year. Cepeda's twentieth home run established a major league record, making him the first player to hit twenty or more home runs with four different teams. He went to Puerto Rico and prepared to play in the 1974 season, but the team decided to release him and Luis Aparicio during spring training.
    In 1972, Cepeda began playing while still feeling pain.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1971
    Age 33
    In 1971, Cepeda began the season with a solid offensive, hitting 10 home runs before May was over.
    More Details Hide Details However, he re-injured one of his knees in his house. The Braves' physician administered a shot, but that proved ineffective. Cepeda was attended to by Dr. Funk, the Atlanta Falcons' orthopedicist. After running tests and examining X-rays, he determined that the injury was serious. Because of this, Cepeda began playing part-time. His batting average declined, and he hit only five more home runs on the season. In September he traveled to New York where he underwent surgery, returning to Puerto Rico to recover during the winter.
  • 1970
    Age 32
    In 1970, Rico Carty of the Braves led the league in average, while Cepeda and Aaron drove in more than a hundred runs.
    More Details Hide Details However, the team's pitching was ineffective and the team finished in fourth place in the division. Cepeda finished with an average of .305, 34 home runs and 111 RBIs.
  • 1969
    Age 31
    Cepeda attended the 1969 spring training on West Palm Beach, being welcomed to the team by Hank Aaron.
    More Details Hide Details This marked the first time that the league's postseason had best-of-five-game playoffs. The Braves won the National League West with a record of 93–69, before losing to the New York Mets in the playoffs. Cepeda had a season average of .257 with 22 home runs and 88 RBIs.
  • 1967
    Age 29
    Cepeda, who had a low average in the 1967 World Series, hit a home run that gave the Cardinals a two games to one lead.
    More Details Hide Details The Tigers, however, won three of the next four games, to win their first World Series since 1945. This season was called the "Year of the Pitcher", because of the overwhelming dominance pitching had over offense in 1968. Cepeda had his the worst statistical year of his career as a regular player, finishing with an average of .248 with 16 home runs and 73 RBIs, scoring career-lows in all three statistics. In March 1969, the Cardinals traded him to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Joe Torre. The trade took Cepeda by surprise. After learning that his new team was the Braves, he considered retirement, but decided against after discussing it with his wife. He moved to the city with uncertainty, wondering if the effect of the Jim Crow laws was still present, but his concerns disppeared once they settled.
  • 1966
    Age 28
    In the off-season Cepeda also brought a house in Diamond Heights while his wife was pregnant with his first son, Orlando, Jr. After recovering from the injury he attended 1966 spring training, however he wasn't placed in the team's starting lineup.
    More Details Hide Details In the middle of a series Cepeda was informed that he had been traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Ray Sadecki. The Giants were playing a series against the Cardinals in St. Louis, so Cepeda joined the team in the city. Bob Howsam, the team's general manager, was interested in him because the team had offensive problems. After the trade, the team granted him a new contract for $53,000. With the help of Harry Caray, the Cardinals' announcer, Cepeda moved to a house in Olivette, Missouri. The team finished in sixth place, with a record of 83–79. He finished his first season with the Cardinals playing 123 games, with an average of .303 and was named the National League Comeback Player of the Year. In, the Cardinals entered the season with analysts giving them odds of 12–1 of winning the pennant. Cepeda began the season strongly, at one point driving in seven runs in a single game. The team promoted offensive performance by fining any player who left teammates on base a dollar; the money was used to pay for the postseason party. The Cardinals contended in the early league standings with the Chicago Cubs, but the team took control of the National League pennant race as the season progressed. Cepeda's offense remained stable, finishing June as the league's leader in doubles. He played in his seventh All-Star Game, which the National League won 2–1.
  • 1965
    Age 27
    Cepeda attended the 1965 spring training, having limited participation.
    More Details Hide Details One of his friends, who was from Mexico brought in a jar with alcohol and cannabis to reduce the pain, noting that it was an "old Mexican remedy". Noticing this a club house employee offered to bring him a cannabis "joint", which he accepted. After this event, he consumed the drug regularly in order to "relax". After experiencing swelling in the knee during the first games of the season, a group of doctors at recommended him to stop playing, however, Cepeda refused to do so since baseball was his main source of income. He received treatment from Gene Sollovief, a Russian doctor who implemented a weight and exercise regime. He returned to action, but only had 34 at-bats with an average of .176 and only three home runs. He returned to Puerto Rico undergoing further physical therapy.
  • 1963
    Age 25
    During the winter, Cepeda returned to the LBPPR, where he suffered a knee injury while training. In 1963, he played the entire MLB season with the injury, not informing the Giants out of concern for his spot in the roster.
    More Details Hide Details He was in constant pain, but was in the race for a batting title along with Roberto Clemente, Dick Groat and Tommy Davis, eventually finishing fifth. His batting average was .316, with 34 home runs and 97 RBIs. In 1964, San Francisco remained in the pennant race until the last week, when the St Louis Cardinals defeated the New York Mets to secure it. Cepeda led the team in batting average with .304 and a slugging percentage of .539.
  • 1961
    Age 23
    In 1961 and 1962, Cepeda had strong years; however, he had serious problems with the team's manager Alvin Dark, to the point of almost skipping some games.
    More Details Hide Details Among the things that Dark did after being named manager was to order the Latin American players to stop speaking Spanish in the clubhouse. Cepeda immediately confronted him; after this Dark avoided summoning the Hispanic players to any team meeting.
    In 1961, Cepeda had what he considers the best statistics of his career.
    More Details Hide Details He led the league in RBIs (142), home runs (46) and home run average (7.9). He was once again selected to play in the All-Star Game starting lineup. The Giants led the National League in runs scored, while the pitching staff had a collective earned run average of 3.77. The team finished in third place in the National League. Cepeda finished second in the Most Valuable Player voting, after Frank Robinson. After the season, Cepeda who at the moment was earning $30,000, asked for a $20,000 raise based on his performance. The general manager believed that he was making too much money for a fourth-year player, and the negotiations continued until a final salary of $46,000 was settled on. The 1962 Giants were an improved team. They constantly rivaled the Dodgers for the league lead. Several players from the team, including Cepeda, participated in the All-Star Games. Finishing tied with the Dodgers, the Giants played against them in a playoff series to determine the National League's champion. They won the best of three series 2–1. The team advanced to the World Series to face the New York Yankees. New York won in a seven-game series. Cepeda batted .306, with 35 home runs and 114 RBIs.
  • 1960
    Age 22
    On December 3, 1960, Cepeda married Annie Pino in a ceremony that took place in a small church of San Juan.
    More Details Hide Details This was followed by a large reception at the San Juan Hilton hotel. After the ceremonies, the couple moved to the building at 48th and Pacheco.
  • 1959
    Age 21
    After experiencing a brief slump during the latter half of May, Cepeda recovered, hitting 12 home runs by June 4, 1959.
    More Details Hide Details He was selected as a starter in both All-Star games during this season. Cepeda was briefly moved to third base to open a spot for Willie McCovey in the starting lineup, but was moved to the outfield after committing errors in the position. He hit six home runs between August and September. The Giants remained in the race for the National League's pennant during the latter part of the season, but were eliminated from competition after losing a series against the Dodgers, eventually finishing third. Cepeda led the team in batting average (.317) and RBIs (105). Cepeda subsequently moved from Daly City to Sunset District, seeking a house within the city. In 1960, the Giants moved him back to first base after McCovey was sent to the minor leagues. Cepeda finished with an average of .297, with 24 home runs and 96 RBI. He moved twice this year, first to 19th and Pacheco and then to 48th and Pacheco, where he and McCovey bought a building next to the ocean.
    In 1959, Cepeda reported to spring training with more confidence than the year before.
    More Details Hide Details He opened the season hitting in nine straight games, with 15 hits in his first 35 at-bats.
  • 1958
    Age 20
    Cepeda was called up by the San Francisco Giants in. His 13 home runs for the season through May 31, 1958, are tied with those of Joc Pederson (2015) for the second-most by a National League rookie through the end of May in baseball history, behind Albert Pujols (16, in 2001).
    More Details Hide Details He signed his first major league contract ten minutes before debuting in the league, earning $7,000 for the season. In San Francisco, the team received significant media attention. Due to his performance, the team raised his salary to $9,500 in June. During this season, Cepeda lived with Rubén Gómez, but stopped doing so after some tension developed between them. His average remained steady throughout the season, never falling below .305, which was his average in September. The Giants held the National League's lead for a month, but their record in August and September was below .500, and they lost the pennant race. In his first season, Cepeda batted .312 with 25 home runs and 96 RBI, led the National League in doubles (38), and was named Rookie of the Year. Cepeda and Willie Mays were the only National League players to finish the season ranked among the leaders in hits, home runs, runs batted in, batting average, runs scored and stolen bases. He was unanimously selected the "Rookie of the Year", becoming the second player after Frank Robinson to receive a unanimous vote. He was also selected the "Most Valuable Giant" in a poll conducted by the San Francisco Examiner. On September 28, 1958, the publication presented him a plaque for this recognition.
  • 1957
    Age 19
    After completing the 1957 season with the Millers, he returned to Puerto Rico and played in the LBPPR.
    More Details Hide Details While he was playing with Santurce, Bill Rigney, Horace Stoneham and Tom Sheehan scouted him on behalf of the Giants, who had just moved from New York to San Francisco. He was invited to the team's spring training along with other prospects, including Felipe Alou and Willie Kirkland.
  • 1955
    Age 17
    In 1955, Zorilla persuaded Cepeda's family to purchase an airplane ticket so that he could participate in a New York Giants tryout.
    More Details Hide Details After passing the tryout, he was assigned by the Giants to Sandersville, a Class D team. Cepeda was subsequently transferred to a team in Salem, Virginia. He had trouble adapting because he did not speak English. He also encountered discrimination due to the racial segregation under the Jim Crow laws. Shortly after this move, Zorilla called to inform him that his father was in critical condition. Pedro Cepeda died a few days later. Orlando paid the burial expenses and returned to Salem. Cepeda was depressed, which affected his performance. He wanted to quit and return to Puerto Rico, but Zorilla convinced him to play for the Kokomo Giants, a team in the Mississippi–Ohio Valley League. Walt Dixon, the team's manager, assigned him to the third baseman position. Cepeda batted in the "cleanup spot", finishing with a .393 average, hitting 21 home runs and 91 runs batted in. Jim Tobin, who owned his contract noticed his potential and sold his player's rights back to the New York Giants. After a visit to Puerto Rico, Cepeda returned to New York, before being sent to play with St. Cloud in Class C. The team reassigned him to play first base. Cepeda adapted to the change quickly. That year, he won the Northern League Triple Crown, finishing with an average of .355 with 112 RBIs and 26 home runs. Jack Schwarz promoted him to Class B, a decision that he protested, noting that players with worse performance were being sent to Double A. Following a solid season in Class B, Cepeda played for the Crabbers in the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League (LBPPR) during the winter, concluding with a batting average of .310, with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs.
  • 1946
    Age 8
    Cepeda saw his father play baseball for the first time in 1946, and was instantly interested in the game.
    More Details Hide Details Because he was black and the bulk of his career was played before Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color bar, Perucho Cepeda could not play in the major leagues. Several players from the Negro leagues visited their house, which influenced his view of the sport. He became a fan of Minnie Miñoso, following his career in the Cuban League, Negro leagues, Major League Baseball, and the Caribbean. When he was ten years old, Cepeda began to sell newspapers in order to participate in a baseball tournament organized for the paper boys. His first tryout came three years later. He practiced with the team for three months but did not make the roster. Cepeda then began playing basketball, but he tore a knee cartilage and underwent surgery. The injury kept him inactive for nearly a year, and the doctor recommended that he avoid practicing basketball. He began practicing again, noticing that his physical strength had significantly improved in two years.
  • 1937
    Born on September 17, 1937.
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