Orlando Cepeda, Corridor of Famer and baseball’s ‘Child Bull,’ dies at 86 TERMAN WEBSITE

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Orlando Cepeda, one among baseball’s most feared hitters within the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties, who performed in three World Sequence however whose path to the Corridor of Fame was slowed by a drug conviction after his taking part in profession ended, died Friday. He was 86.

The San Francisco Giants and Cepeda’s household introduced the dying by way of an announcement posted on the Giants’ web site however didn’t present additional particulars. A second of silence was held on the scoreboard at Oracle Park halfway by way of a recreation towards the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Related Press reported.

Together with his highly effective hitting and exuberant fashion of play, Mr. Cepeda grew to become a right away star as a 20-year-old rookie with the Giants in 1958, the franchise’s first 12 months on the West Coast.

He hit a house run in his first recreation and went on to win Rookie of the 12 months honors within the Nationwide League. He grew to become a favourite with San Francisco followers, forward of even star outfielder Willie Mays.

Mr. Cepeda was nicknamed the Child Bull, in a nod to his father, Pedro, a Puerto Rican baseball star often known as “El Toro.” His teammates dubbed him “Cha Cha” for his love of energetic Latin music and his outgoing method.

“It’s important to do not forget that Orlando was the preferred participant when the franchise moved from New York,” workforce proprietor and managing associate Peter Magowan informed the New York Instances in 1993. “Orlando performed the sport with flamboyance. He was an all-around participant. He acquired our followers within the workforce.”

Within the early Sixties, the Giants had one of the formidable lineups within the NL, with Mays, Mr. Cepeda and a 3rd Corridor of Fame slugger, Willie McCovey. Throughout every of his first seven seasons, the right-handed-hitting Mr. Cepeda slugged no fewer than 24 residence runs and drove in at the least 96 runs. He completed his swing with a flourish of his bat above his head.

He had one among his best seasons in 1961, when he led the NL with 46 residence runs and 142 RBIs, forward of Mays and different stars, together with Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Ernie Banks.

In 1962, Mr. Cepeda was on the coronary heart of Giants workforce that completed the common season with 101 wins and 61 losses — the identical report as their archrivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Within the decisive contest of a three-game playoff, Mr. Cepeda hit a sacrifice fly to tie the rating, 4-4, within the ninth inning. The Giants went on to win, 6-4, and clinch the NL pennant, solely to lose the World Sequence to the New York Yankees.

Mr. Cepeda was on deck when McCovey lined out within the backside of the ninth inning of Recreation 7, because the Yankees held on to win the sequence within the decisive contest.

Throughout their years in San Francisco, Mr. Cepeda and McCovey alternated between left discipline and first base, resulting in resentment from Mr. Cepeda, who believed he ought to have been the full-time first baseman. He additionally performed in ache after injuring his proper knee in a collision at residence plate towards the Dodgers in 1961.

His supervisor, Alvin Darkish, by no means grasped the severity of his harm, Mr. Cepeda mentioned, and hinted that Mr. Cepeda was not taking part in exhausting sufficient. Darkish additionally ordered the Giants’ Latin American gamers to cease talking Spanish and listening to music within the clubhouse. Mays, the workforce’s celebrity, needed to intercede to forestall a revolt towards the supervisor.

“He handled me like a toddler,” Mr. Cepeda mentioned of Darkish in a 1967 interview with Sports activities Illustrated. “I’m a human being, whether or not I’m blue or black or white or inexperienced. We Latins are completely different, however we’re nonetheless human beings. Darkish didn’t respect our variations.”

Mr. Cepeda appeared in solely 33 video games in 1965 earlier than having surgical procedure on his broken knee. He was traded in 1966 to the St. Louis Cardinals, the place he was put in at first base and have become the NL’s comeback participant of the 12 months. He emerged as a vocal chief on a workforce that included future Corridor of Famers Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Steve Carlton.

In 1967, Mr. Cepeda received the Most Priceless Participant Award with a career-high .325 batting common, 25 residence runs and a league-leading 111 RBIs. He helped propel the Cardinals — “El Birdos,” as he known as them — to the World Sequence, during which they defeated the Boston Purple Sox in seven video games.

“It’s not simply his statistics,” teammate Mike Shannon mentioned on the time. “It’s additionally what occurs within the clubhouse. It’s intangible. I can’t actually clarify. Orlando is a status participant, and now we have him — the opposite golf equipment don’t.”

Though Mr. Cepeda’s hitting slumped in 1968, the Cardinals returned to the World Sequence however misplaced to the Detroit Tigers in seven video games. He was then traded to the Atlanta Braves, for whom he had a stellar season in 1970, with 34 residence runs. He later performed for the Oakland Athletics, Boston Purple Sox and Kansas Metropolis Royals.

He retired in 1974 with 379 residence runs and a lifetime common of .297, together with 9 seasons at .300 or higher. His accomplishments would usually have led to enshrinement within the Nationwide Baseball Corridor of Fame, however in 1975 Mr. Cepeda was arrested at San Juan Worldwide Airport whereas trying to retrieve two bins allegedly containing 170 kilos of marijuana.

He was convicted of possession of marijuana with intent to promote and sentenced to federal jail. He was launched in 1979 after serving 10 months.

His status was shattered in Puerto Rico, the place he had been hailed because the island’s best baseball hero after the dying of Pittsburgh Pirates star Roberto Clemente in a aircraft crash on Dec. 31, 1972.

“I made an enormous mistake,” Mr. Cepeda informed the San Jose Mercury Information in 1999. “When Roberto Clemente died, they mentioned in Puerto Rico that at the least now we have Orlando Cepeda alive. So once I let all people down, they acquired very mad. We’re very emotional as a individuals. We’re exhausting on individuals who mess it up.”

Orlando Manuel Cepeda Pennes was born Sept. 17, 1937, in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and grew up in San Juan. His father, Pedro “Perucho” Cepeda, was dubbed the “Babe Ruth of Puerto Rico” and performed on Caribbean all-star groups with such stars of baseball’s Negro leagues as Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell.

The youthful Mr. Cepeda excelled in baseball and basketball throughout his youth and signed with the Giants, then nonetheless in New York, in 1955. His father died simply earlier than he was to play his first skilled recreation for a minor league workforce in Salem, Va. Mr. Cepeda spent his $500 bonus on his father’s funeral and needed to be persuaded to return to Virginia to proceed his baseball profession.

“I used to be solely 17, and it was powerful,” he informed Sports activities Illustrated in 1991. “I lived within the black a part of city, and on Sunday mornings I’d hear the individuals singing gospel music within the church throughout the road. I’d sit by the window in my room listening, and I’d cry from distress and loneliness.”

However, he shortly superior by way of the minors and reached the foremost leagues in solely three years.

After his drug conviction within the Nineteen Seventies, Mr. Cepeda struggled for years to rebuild his life. He grew to become a Buddhist and 1989 attended a recreation in San Francisco. He proved so widespread with followers that the Giants employed him as a goodwill ambassador, a place he held till his dying.

His marriages to Ana Hilda Pino and Nydia Fernandez resulted in divorce. His third spouse, the previous Mirian Ortiz, died in 2017 after 26 years of marriage. Survivors embody 5 kids from his marriages and different relationships.

For years, Mr. Cepeda was denied election to the Corridor of Fame, which he attributed to his drug conviction. (He was additionally fined $100 in 2008 for possession of a small quantity of marijuana.)

In his fifteenth and last 12 months on the Corridor of Fame poll in 1994, Mr. Cepeda wanted 342 votes to achieve the 75 p.c threshold for election. He fell seven votes quick.

He lastly received admission from the Corridor of Fame’s veterans committee in 1999. He was the second Puerto Rican to be elected, after Clemente. The Giants retired his No. 30 jersey and in 2008 devoted a statue of Mr. Cepeda on the entrance to the workforce’s stadium.

He additionally discovered redemption in San Juan, the place a parade was held in his honor.

“The most important victories come over your self, once you management your thoughts and your future,” Mr. Cepeda informed Sports activities Illustrated in 1999. “My life has been a drama of internal change.”

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