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Orlando Cepeda: 1937—: Baseball Player Biography

Followed In Father's Footsteps, Won Rookie Of The Year, Helped Cardinals Win Championship

Orlando Cepeda: 1937—: Baseball player.

The life of Orlando Cepeda was played out in two very different places. One was on the baseball field where he demolished the competition, hitting a career average .297 consisting of 2,351 hits. He racked up 417 doubles, 27 triples, and 379 home runs all contributing to an outstanding 1,131 runs and 1,365 Runs Batted In (RBI). He was known to many as "Cha Cha" and "Baby Bull" and was legendary for being the spirit of the St. Louis Cardinals during their championship run in 1967. His life on the baseball field was one of glory and of honor. His second life, off the baseball field, was filled with turmoil and rejection. In 1975, a year after leaving the game as an immortalized player, Cepeda found himself standing before a judge on drug trafficking charges that lead to a five-year jail sentence in 1978. While Cepeda only served ten months of the sentence, the event tarnished his entire baseball career and effectively barred him from obtaining the holy grail of baseball, a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame, for over 15 years. But Cepeda fought back into the hearts of baseball fans and worked to rebuild his image throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Finally, in 1999, Cepeda was granted his long awaited spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee, but it was his change in personality and spirit that Cepeda was especially proud of. He told Sports Illustrated, "The biggest victories come over yourself, when you control your mind and your destiny. My life has been a drama of inner change."

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