Monday, June 29, 2015

Recalling Boston's First DH—Orlando Cepeda

Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda played 17 seasons in the big leagues—mostly with the Giants (nine years). But in his penultimate season of 1973, he was the very first Designated Hitter for the Boston Red Sox. When American League owners decided on the DH rule, the 35-year old Cepeda was given a new lease on baseball life. Cepeda played in 120 games for Boston that year, and produced the way you'd expect a DH to produce. He hit .289 with a .350 OPB and a slugging percentage of .444. He clouted out 20 HRs and drove in 86 runs. He also had 25 doubles—not bad for 35-year old wheels. After that season in Boston, Cepeda played only 33 games with the Kansas City Royals in 1974—hitting just .215 with one HR. Now 77 years old, the "Baby Bull" can be rightly proud of his achievements as Boston's first DH.