César Cedeño

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César Cedeño
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 runs 199
Runs batted in 976
Stolen bases 550
Career highlights and awards

César Cedeño Encarnación (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsesar seˈðeɲo]; born February 25, 1951) 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.

Baseball career

Signed by Houston as an amateur free agent in 1967, Cedeño debuted on June 20, 1970 at 19 years of age. Batting .310 in his rookie season in 1970, at the age of 19, he led the National League (NL) in doubles.[1] The next season, he again led the NL in doubles. He batted .320 in both 1972 and 1973. In 1972, Cedeño hit 22 home runs, had 55 stolen bases, and again led the NL 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,".[1]

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 (from 1972 to 1974). He also stole 50-plus bases the next three years (from 1975 to 1977), twice led the league in doubles (from 1971 to 1972) and collected 102 RBI in 1974.

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 (from 1972 to 1976), Cedeño appeared in four All-Star Games (from 1972 to 1974, and in 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. With only one month left in the season, Cedeño had the Cardinals' longest hitting streak during their historic 1985 season.[2] 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 also served as a coach for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League farm team of the Washington Nationals before being let go in 2009. He now is a hitting coach for the Appy league team, The Greenville Astros.


In 1973, Cedeño was involved in an incident in the Dominican Republic in which his gun discharged in a motel room, killing his girlfriend.[3] He was initially charged with voluntary manslaughter[4] and held in prison without bail, while his lawyers negotiated for a reduction of the charge to involuntary manslaughter.[5] He was held for three weeks before he was released on bail.[6] He was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and fined $100.[7]

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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