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César Cedeño

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Cesar Cedeno

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César Cedeño Encarnación (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.


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Baseball career

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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, he led the National League in doubles. The next season, he again led the league 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 league 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,".

César Cedeño 56 Cesar Cedeno

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 the 1974 season.

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On the negative side, Cedeño's career was hampered by an aggressive fielding style which often led to injuries.

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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 All-Star Game of that year, Cedeño beat out Roberto Clemente for the starting National League position. Cedeño also hit for the cycle in both 1972 and 1976.

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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 six 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. He then played at 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. Cedeño finished his career with the Dodgers and played his final game on June 2, 1986.

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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.

In between, Cedeño played six seasons for the Estrellas Orientales club of the Dominican Winter League, and reinforced the Tigres del Licey in the 1972 Caribbean Series. He later played with the Gold Coast Suns of the Senior Professional Baseball Association in its 1989 inaugural season.

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. After that, he served as a hitting coach for the Appy league team, the Greenville Astros.

Personal life

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


César Cedeño Wikipedia

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