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Orlando Cepeda

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Orlando Cepeda
Orlando Cepeda
First Baseman and Designated Hitter
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB Debut
April 15, 1958 for the San Francisco Giants
Final game
, 1974 for the Kansas City Royals
Career Statistics
Batting Average     .297
Home Runs     379
RBI     1365
Teams
Career Highlights and Awards

Orlando Manuel Cepeda Penne (born September 17, 1937 in Ponce, Puerto Rico) is a former Major League Baseball first baseman and right-handed batter who played with the San Francisco Giants (1958–66), St. Louis Cardinals (1966–68), Atlanta Braves (1969–72), Oakland Athletics (1972), Boston Red Sox (1973) and Kansas City Royals (1974).

Cepeda was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. His father, slugger Pedro Cepeda, was a baseball legend in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Some called Cepeda the Babe Ruth of Latin America. Pedro's nicknames were Perucho and The Bull so Orlando became known as Peruchin and Baby Bull. He was also nicknamed as Cha-cha.

BiographyEdit

Baseball CareerEdit

In his first season in 1958, Cepeda batted .312 with 25 home runs and 96 runs RBI, led the National League in doubles (38), and was named Rookie of the Year. In 1967, he was named the National League MVP by hitting .325 and driving in 111 RBIs.

Cepeda was a 7-time All-Star (1959–64. 1967). He retired in 1975 after hitting a .297 BA with 379 homers and 1365 RBI in 17 seasons. Cepeda was the first designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox, and the second DH in all of MLB.

Retirement and Drug ProblemsEdit

In 1975, after retirement, Cepeda was caught while picking up a marijuana shipment in San Juan airport. For this charge he was sentenced to five years of imprisonment, of which he served 10 months of actual jail time and then rest on sexual violated probation.

Induction to Hall of FameEdit

Member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame
Baseball Hof
Orlando Manuel Cepeda Penne
"Baby Bull"
Inducted as a member of the San Francisco Giants (30)
Year Inducted: 1999
First Year Elligible:
Baseball Hof
Orlando Cepeda
is a member of
the Baseball
Hall of Fame

This drug-related episode and conviction, caused Cepeda to have an extremely difficult time getting voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. By the early 1990s, when his time of eligibility was beginning to run out, many Puerto Ricans, celebrities and ordinary citizens alike, began to campaign for his induction. Many of his backers alleged that other members of the Hall of Fame had done things equal or worse than drugs and were still inducted. Some international celebrities, former teammates and others also joined in the campaign to have Cepeda elected. In 1994, his last year of eligibility by BBWAA voting, he came within only 7 votes of becoming elected. Jim Rice, who had the msot similar record to Cepedia, made it with 7 votes to spare in his last BBWAA eligibility election (2009).

Finally, in 1999, he was elected by the Hall's Veterans Committee, joining Roberto Clemente as the only other Puerto Rican in Cooperstown.

Humanitarian Efforts and RecognitionsEdit

Cepeda was 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, and participated in Athletes against AIDS.

In an article in 1976 in Esquire magazine, 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.

The Giants retired Orlando's number 30. It hangs on the facing of the upper deck in the left field corner of AT&T Park. He is currently working in the Giants front office.

Recent Drug Possession ChargesEdit

On Wednesday, May 2, 2007 in Solano County, Cepeda was booked into jail after a routine traffic stop on Interstate 880. He faces charges of marijuana possession and speeding. Cepeda posted a $10,000 bail and has been released from the Solano County jailhouse.

California Highway Patrol Officer Amy Mulata stopped Cepeda for speeding on Highway 12 just west of Highway 80 and smelled marijuana in the vehicle, the California Highway Patrol said. Mulata found a "usable amount of marijuana", a bindle containing a suspected controlled substance-believed to be either cocaine or methanphetamines-and one syringe, the CHP reported. The Lexus was searched with a narcotics dog and no additional drugs were found, the agency said.[1]

Cepeda has said through his attorney that the drugs weren't his and that they belonged to a relative with diabetes that had a prescription to use marijuana for medical purposes.[2]

QuotationEdit

  • "He is annoying every pitcher in the league. He is strong, he hits to all fields, and he makes all the plays. He's the most relaxed first-year man I ever saw." — Willie Mays about Cepeda (1958)

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Jack Sanford
National League Rookie of the Year
1958
Succeeded by:
Willie McCovey
Preceded by:
Hank Aaron
National League RBI Champion
1961
Succeeded by:
Tommy Davis
Preceded by:
Ernie Banks
National League Home Run Champion
1961
Succeeded by:
Willie Mays
Preceded by:
Jim Ray Hart
Major League Player of the Month
August 1967
Succeeded by:
Don Drysdale
Preceded by:
Hank Aaron
National League RBI Champion
1967
Succeeded by:
Willie McCovey
Preceded by:
Roberto Clemente
National League Most Valuable Player
1967
Succeeded by:
Bob Gibson

Template:Sports in Puerto Rico


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