Born: Feb 25, 1951
Signed in 1967 as a non-drafted free agent, Dominican César Cedeño was a true superstar, exploding into the National League as a 19-year-old rookie centerfielder in 1970. He had it all: speed, power, average, defense and a powerful arm. Manager Leo Durocher famously christened him as the "next Willie Mays."
Arguably the best player in the majors by 1972, Cedeño nevertheless failed to live up to the Hall-of-Fame billing expected of him. He never turned out to be Willie Mays, but he had become the best player in franchise history by the time he was traded to Cincinnati for Ray Knight after the 1981 season. Cedeño left the club as the all-time franchise leader in games played, runs, hits, doubles and stolen bases, and eventually finished his career as one of the top 10 center fielders in major league history.
Among his accomplishments was hitting for the first two cycles in franchise history (1972, 1976), becoming the first Astro to steal 60 or more bases in a season (1977) and the first Astro to hit a homer in the All-Star Game (1976). In his 12 seasons with Houston, César hit .289 with 163 homers and 487 stolen bases. He also won five Gold Glove Awards (1972-76) for his defensive brilliance.
After Cincinnati, he spent time with the Cardinals and Dodgers and finally made it to the World Series with St. Louis in 1985.