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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cesar Cedeno

Eligible in 1992.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 10, 2006 at 11:22 PM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 10, 2006 at 11:26 PM (#2257372)
Looked like a future HOFer at one time, but his career numbers never reached the levels that may of us thought he would attain. With that said, he still had an impressive career.
   2. OCF Posted: December 10, 2006 at 11:40 PM (#2257391)
Vaguely remembered from my youth: the Tulsa newpaper reported on league leaders in AAA stats, and there was this kid in Oklahoma City with a fantastic BA. Then one day I looked at that listing and he wasn't there - deleted from the list. Seeing his name in the Houston box score helped clear that up. (Checking BaseballCube: it says .373 with .691 SLG in 54 games in 1970. Which was a great leap forward from what he'd hit in A ball in 1969.)

Then a few year later I went to a few games in the Dome, watching Cedeño position himself to cover a great swath of outfield, making up for the shortcomings of Bob Watson.

His profile - big leaguer at 19, star at 21, declining at 30, out of the league at 35 - has always suggested the possiblity that he might have been born a few years before 1951. But there was that great leap forward between 1969 and 1970, which is easier to accomplish when younger.
   3. AndrewJ Posted: December 10, 2006 at 11:53 PM (#2257404)
I saw a clip of him on Youtube from the 1974 All-Star Game. The announcer said that Cedeno already had 77 RBIs at the All-Star break, which sounded implausible for somebody playing in the Astrodome in 1974. I checked Retrosheet and found his month-by-month stats from '74. By the end of July, in fact, Cedeno was batting .302 with 22 HR and 82 RBI. Over the last two months, though, he batted .194 (40-for-206) with 4 homers and 20 ribbies. That slump probably cost him a shot at the MVP.
   4. OCF Posted: December 11, 2006 at 12:33 AM (#2257443)
So he had streaks. His very last hot streak (easy to find, since it's set off by a transaction) was certainly memorable, although I may be risking the wrath of Mets fans by even mentioning it.
   5. Astro-Bonilla Posted: December 11, 2006 at 12:51 AM (#2257452)
Just keep in mind that the Astrodome was an extreme pitcher's park when Cedeno played their, with a park factor much lower than any current big league park, and therefore he was more valuable than his raw stats suggest at first glance.
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 11, 2006 at 12:52 AM (#2257453)
although I may be risking the wrath of Mets fans by even mentioning it.

We might have had two pennants in a row, but alas...
   7. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: December 11, 2006 at 02:01 AM (#2257495)
Just keep in mind that the Astrodome was an extreme pitcher's park when Cedeno played their, with a park factor much lower than any current big league park, and therefore he was more valuable than his raw stats suggest at first glance.

Speaking of which, has Cheo Cruz come up for discussion yet? I'm not a voter, just an intermittent lurker, so I may have missed him. I'd be interested to see what the HoM crowd thought of his career.
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 11, 2006 at 02:22 AM (#2257511)
Cruz is eligible in '94, Dan.

He was damn good, but I doubt he has a real chance for induction.
   9. Roger Cedeno's Spleen Posted: December 11, 2006 at 05:15 AM (#2257653)
Speaking of which, has Cheo Cruz come up for discussion yet? I'm not a voter, just an intermittent lurker, so I may have missed him. I'd be interested to see what the HoM crowd thought of his career.


See also, Paul O'Neill, eligible 2006...
   10. JPWF13 Posted: December 12, 2006 at 11:36 PM (#2259297)
His profile - big leaguer at 19, star at 21, declining at 30, out of the league at 35


Peaked at ages 21-22, he levelled off a lower (though still quite good level) from 23-27, dropped off to a lower level from ages 28-35 (with a spike at age 29).

I remembered that he had a late spike- but looking at BBref that really wasn't so- he had a GREAT September in 1985 at age 34 with the Cardinals, but teh year as a whole wasn't out of line with his previous 7-8 years.

There's no rule that says any specific individual's career has to follow a specific curve, but Cedeno's was really pretty atypical; my guesses as to why, in no particular order:

1: He was born a couple of years before his reported DOB;

2: An injury impacted his performance- one thing that gets me is that his aging curve is not typical even if you add a few years to his age- something seemed to sap his POWER- before he lost his speed- if you just look at his sb/cs and 3bs and dps you would not think to question his age

3: He just had an idyosynchratic personal aging curve

4: He used PEDs early on and then stopped (hey if we want tio mention PEDS in conjunction with every player with an abnormal aging curve who played in the 90s why not the 70s?

5: He never developed, never trained, didn't work out and didn't make adjustments as the league progressivly adjusted to him.


Looking at BBref I'm leaning towards #2- he peaked at ages 21/22 he was an MVP candidate more than halfway through 1974 (age 23)- fell off a cliff and never regained his peak.

He lost power not speed- as late as age 29 he was still 48/15 in steals and had 8 triples- but the power was mostly gone. If we assume he was 3 years older tha advertised, then he peaked at ages 24/25, and at age 32 was 48/15 in steals and had 8 triples- possible but not likely.

If he was injured the splits given in post #3 may tell us when-
he had 69 XBH at age 21 in 139 games, 62 at age 22 in 139 games (25 hr); and 22 himers by the end of July during his age 23 season- poof- power was gone- his next best HR seaosn was 1976- 18 himers at age 25, but only 49 XBHs in 150 games (he may have traded a few 2bs for HR that year)- basically after establishing himself as having 25 HR power (in a brutal park- for power) he spend the rest of his career as a 10-15 type HR guy
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 13, 2006 at 12:23 AM (#2259340)
There was also the shooting that James mentions in the NHBA. When did that fall in his career?
   12. Steve Treder Posted: December 13, 2006 at 12:30 AM (#2259350)
There was also the shooting that James mentions in the NHBA. When did that fall in his career?

Some time in the early '70s, IIRC, like around 1973.

Cedeno didn't get shot, but a woman he was with in a hotel room did. After an investigation, it was ruled an accident and Cedeno wasn't charged.
   13. OCF Posted: December 13, 2006 at 12:53 AM (#2259378)
From BB-ref - leaders in OPS+ at age 21:

Joe Jackson 191
King Kelly 184
Jimmie Foxx 173
Eddie Mathews 171
Rogers Hornsby 169
Ty Cobb 169
Sam Crawford 168
Cesar Cedeno 162
Ted Williams 162
Denny Lyons 161

Let's see: for Denny Lyons, that is the 1887 AA - a very weird season in a weaker league. I'm inclined to discount that somewhat. As for the rest of that group: Cobb, Williams, and Hornsby are the elite of the elite as hitters. Foxx and Mathews can be regarded as slight disappointments over their relatively early declines - and are inner circle HoMer anyway. Jackson - we know why his career was shortened, and he's a HoMer anyway. Kelly and Crawford? Easily elected HoMers, nowhere near the borderline.

For age 22, it takes 171 to crack that top-10 list and Cedeno is down to 151.

As for the homicide that Dr. Chaleeko mentioned - no, I don't remember the exact timing of that. It's a very serious matter, that happened in the Dominican Republic during an off season. All I know for sure is that a young woman was dead and that Cedeno was associated to the incident in some way - I can't quote you any evidence, one way or the other. Did Cedeno get away with murder? I can't tell you that; I can tell you that there were fans that believed that.
   14. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 13, 2006 at 07:23 AM (#2259766)
The incident happened 33 years ago this week, it was in the December 12, 1973 edition of the NYTimes.

I'm working on saving the articles to PDF, I'll post them on the Hall of Merit group files section if anyone wants to read them . . .
   15. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 13, 2006 at 07:39 AM (#2259775)
The story in a nutshell. Happened December 11, 1973.

Cedeno and girl are arguing all night (as noted by witnesses). Girl grabs his gun to look at it. Cedeno tries to take it from her. Gun goes off and she is shot in the head.

Cedeno doesn't go right to the police . . . "I went to my house, told my wife what happened, then went to the police, I was scared. I saw my baseball career was in danger."

Cedeno is originally charged with voluntary manslaughter (the Dominican equivalent of 2nd degree murder).

Parafin test shows that girl fired gun. Charge reduced to involuntary manslaughter. Cedeno out on bail at that point (20 days in jail).

Cedeno found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for acting, "imprudently in allowing the victim to obtain the firearm he was carrying, and in handling it clumsily it discharged, causing her death." He was fined the US equivalent of $100.
   16. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 13, 2006 at 07:43 AM (#2259781)
Later, in 1988 he was arrested again for allegedly assaulting the mother of his child. That article recounts his other antics . . . in 1978 he injured his hand in an outburst after making an out in a close game (fined $5K by the team). In 1981 he went into the stands to confront a heckler in Atlanta, this time the league hit him up for the $5K. In 1985 he picked up a DWI as his car ended up stuck in a tree, that cost him $400 fine and $7K in property damage restitution. At the time of the 1988 arrest he was awaiting trial after being charged with smashing a glass into a man's face at a nightclub.

Wow.
   17. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 13, 2006 at 07:45 AM (#2259782)
By the way, in the 1988 arrest, it was for assault, causing bodily injury and resisting arrest - "It took three or four officers to put him in the car," said the Webster, TX police chief.
   18. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 13, 2006 at 03:28 PM (#2259948)
Joe, thanks for posting your synopses. Yowza. Almost makes Elijah Dukes and Delmon Young seem like solid citizens....
   19. JPWF13 Posted: December 13, 2006 at 04:12 PM (#2260003)
Joe, thanks for posting your synopses. Yowza. Almost makes Elijah Dukes and Delmon Young seem like solid citizens....


Durocher thought Cedeno was a good kid- misunderstood but a good kid, and Leo as not a bleeding heart type- of course if Cedeno wasn't a terrific player Leo probably would have thought otherwise
   20. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 14, 2006 at 03:39 PM (#2261132)
JPWF - He definitely could have been misunderstood, incidents could have been blown out of proportion - heck, maybe because of the shooting, people were quick to assume the worst with him in the other scenarios. Maybe the shooting incident and the fans reaction to it changed him and made him bitter and angry, who knows.

People aren't all good or all bad . . . there's a lot of gray; and the bad is what tends to make news . . .

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