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Orlando Cepeda Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: September 17, 1937 in Ponce, Puerto Rico
Biography | show moreshow less

Full name Orlando Manuel (Pennes) Cepeda
Born September 17, 1937, Ponce, Puerto Rico
First Game: April 15, 1958; Final Game: September 19, 1974
Bat: Right Throw: Right Height: 6' 2" Weight: 210

Selected to the Hall of Fame in 1999
Named NL Most Valuable Player by Baseball Writers' Association of America (1967)
Named NL Player of the Year by The Sporting News (1967)
Named NL Rookie of the Year by Baseball Writers' Association of America (1958)
Named NL Rookie Player of the Year by The Sporting News (1958)
Named first baseman on The Sporting News Major League All-Star Team (1959)
Named first baseman on The Sporting News NL All-Star Team (1961 to 1962 and 1967)

This article was written by Mark Stewart and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research

For a decade and a half starting in the late 1950s, few things were more unnerving to major league pitchers than the sight of Orlando Cepeda striding confidently to the plate. A power hitter in the truest sense of the word, Cepeda played as long and as hard as his disintegrating knees could take him. Remembered as a difference-maker both in the field and the clubhouse, he had an uncanny ability to make bad teams good and good teams great. Cepeda’s heartbreaking post-career fall from grace—and eventual resurrection to Cooperstown—provided a fascinating final chapter to his remarkable story, as well as a poignant reminder of the ephemeral nature of stardom in sports.

Orlando Manuel Cepeda was born on September 17, 1937, in the southern seaport city of Ponce, Puerto Rico. His brother, Pedro, was four years older. Cepeda’s father, Perucho, was a big, power-hitting shortstop sometimes called the “Babe Ruth of the Caribbean,” but more commonly known as “The Bull.” Cepeda often answered to Peruchin, and would come to be called “The Baby Bull” (and also Cha-Cha) by his fans.

After Orlando was born, his father joined the Guayama club of the Puerto Rican Winter League. This proved helpful to the family, as the money he had been sending from the Dominican was barely keeping the family afloat, and what he kept for himself he often gambled away. Though past his prime, Perucho batted over .400 in 1938 and 1940, and in 1939 edged Josh Gibson for the Puerto Rican League batting title with a .383 mark.

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