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.