The Drama of Cesar Cedeno's Baseball Career

Cesar Cedeno was born February 25th, 1951 in Santa Domingo. He played a 17 year career most notably with the Houston Astros (1970-1981). He was dubbed the "next Willie Mays" with his speed, defensive skills & power by then Astro skipper Leo Durocher. He batted .310 his rookie season, making a close bid for Rookie of the Year & then hit .320 the next two seasons. From 1972-1974 he hit 20 HRs & stole 50 bases each season. He would steal over 50 bases through 1976 and be in the top four of the league leaders in steals six straight years. He led the league in doubles twice (1971-1972) won 5 straight gold gloves in center field and played in 4 All Star Games. He spent 4 years with the Reds before closing out his career with the 1985 St. Louis Cards.

But with all his glory early on in his carer he would never develop into the super star he was tagged to be. After 1973 he would only hit over .300 once more and only have one 100 RBI season. Cedeno's career would be over shadowed by drama, a bad temper & brushes with the law.

In December of 1973 Cedeno was spending the off season with his wife at his winter home in Santa Domingo. He went out to a cheap motel on the poor side of town with his 19 year old mistress; Alta. The two were drinking & getting high when Alta began playing with Cedeno's gun. She wouldn't give it back and the two wrestled for it. The gun went off, putting a bullet in Alta's head & killing her. Cedeno panicked and fled the scene. The next day he turned himself in & was charged with involuntary manslaughter and spent 20 days including Christmas in jail. He managed to get off by paying a fine of 100 pesos and was free. By March of 1974 he was reporting to Astros Spring Training, as if nothing had happened. Some fans who knew of the drama never let him forget it as they shouted "Murderer" & 'Who ya Gonna shoot next" through out the season.
More drama followed Cedeno as his demons resurrected in 1985. He had an argument with a new girlfriend in Houston and ran his Mercedes into a tree. He then got violent with the police, trying to kick out a window of the squad car & refusing a breathalyzer.

In 1986 a man bumped him accidentally in a bar. Cedeno smashed a glass into his face. He was charged with assault and resisting arrest.

In 1988 he attacked his latest girlfriend also in Texas. As she tried to run away Cesar took their four month old baby and drove away. He returned, beat the girl up again and was charged with assault and resisting arrest.


Anonymous said…
he had the most WONDERFUL laugh and was a great lover....a very sexy man ...i wonder if it was pam that had the baby...she was always in my way, along with cora...poor cora, to be married to such a time bomb-womanizer...their wedding picture should have been a warning to her...him in a RED SUIT!!!! wonder what he's up to now and how many more kids he has....
Unknown said…
he was a Great Ballplayer, but his temper , do not let him shine like superstar as it was supposed to be.
But we must remember that at that time was not used steroids
Anonymous said…
I used to sit behind center field in Riverfront Stadium in the 1970s before his trouble with the law. He would put his glove up and give the fans sitting in center field "the finger". He was a great ballplayer at one time, but always a bad human being.
Anonymous said…
"But we must remember that at that time was not used steroids "

Actually, steroids were being used in the NFL as early as the 60s so we don't know for sure that Cedeno(or other players) weren't using them in the 70s. It's not as if steroids were invented in the 90s.
Anonymous said…
Cedeno , women abuser, not that good a ball player as some think, average everyday player or less.
Craig said…
I lived in Houston from 1970 to 1974 so I saw him in his prime. During the '71, '72 and '73 seasons he was far and away the most gifted athlete in baseball. He could throw strikes to home plate from the centerfield wall. He had so much range that the left and right fielders could camp on the foul lines. He made impossible catches look routine and effortless. He stole bases at will, usually standing up at second by the time the throw arrived, and he often took second on slow rolling grounders that got through the infield. He'd have had more home runs if he hadn't hit so many line drives to dead center. He was so ridiculously good it was comical. The program listed him at 190 lbs,, but if that's true the weight was all in his calves and hamstrings. He didn't run. He flew. Leg injuries slowed him down eventually. The Reds picked up his contract so they wouldn't have to play against him.deflrh
Anonymous said…
I don't know about his personal problems, but I was a huge Cardinals fan, and in 1985, he came over in a late season trade from the Reds, and he simply hit the holy heck out of the ball. That last month of the season, they couldn't get him out, and it seems like every one of his home runs was clutch, one that put the Cardinals up or brought them back. Like the rest of the '85 Redbirds, couldn't continue that offensive production into the World Series.
Unknown said…
When I was a kid I was a fan of the Orioles but for some reason, he was the only player I ever wrote a letter to, telling him how much I admired him as a player. He wrote me a short but nice letter back and included a signed photo. I never knew about any of the off field stuff at that time. I just admired the combo of speed and power which caused me to write to him. Too bad he didn't fulfill his potential and play his way into the Hall of Fame. This was a nice memory of my youth. I probably still have the photo in some box in my basement. Perhaps I'll run across it some day.
Anonymous said…
Cedeno was a solid ballplayer, but as a human being...well...he was a Hall of Fame in low life behavior.

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