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The Orlando Cepeda Story Hardcover – September, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Arte Publico Pr (September 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558853332
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558853331
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,501,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Orlando Cepeda was a revolutionary player. He was San Francisco's first homegrown star after the Giants arrived in California in 1958--the great Willie Mays was considered a holdover from the franchise's days in New York. "The Baby Bull," so nicknamed because he was the son of great Puerto Rican slugger Pedro "The Bull" Cepeda, was a tremendous run producer in a time when those players were rare. And in Mays and Willie McCovey the Giants had three of the National League's best. With Juan Marichal as the team's ace, it's amazing that San Francisco won only one pennant. Their inability to win wasn't Cepeda's fault--after leaving the Giants he helped the Cardinals and Braves reach the postseason three straight years--but Cepeda's biggest mistakes happened away from the field.
Beloved by his teammates, Cepeda had problems with his knees and his managers, which together led to five uniform changes in his final eight years in the major leagues. He also had difficulties with his marriage and the IRS, but his lowest point came after his career ended when he served time in prison for trafficking marijuana. In a book aimed at young adults these things are not simple to address or explain, but Bruce Markusen does both very well. It's not just a book about a baseball player, it's a story about a man of flawed character who swallows his sizeable pride and proves to be greater in defeat than he was in victory.
Disgraced in his home country and not entirely welcomed in America, Cepeda started his life anew in plain sight of those who thought of him as a criminal who had thrown away fame, wealth, and respect. He made it back to the major leagues as a coach, but didn't last long in any place.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a short book, easily readable in 3 hours or less due to its brevity. But, its a solid work. Markusen does a fine job in detailing Cepeda's life and career as the son of a Puerto Rican baseball legend and then as a superstar baseball player. I was especially interested to read about the issues he had with some of his managers (especially Al Dark) and also his post-career troubles with the law.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bruce Markusen wrote one of the best baseball books ever in 2009, "The Team That Changed Baseball: Roberto Clemente and the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates". I read it when it was published and read it again recently to refresh my memory of that historic team and was glad I did so. Markusen earned my trust with that book so I was disappointed in some careless writing that causes me to give this one four stars instead of five.

Markusen's credentials with the Baseball Hall of Fame make it even more puzzling that he has four significant errors of fact in "The Orlando Cepeda Story". Let's get them out of the way first. The errors are:

1. When Cepeda began his career with Salem, VA, in the Appalachian League, he was denied service at a restaurant "during a road trip to Iowa." I can't imagine any Appy League team making a trip to Iowa since its membership has always consisted of towns in the Southern Appalachians with the exception of Burlington in the North Carolina Piedmont.

2. The author mentioned the group of established stars with the San Francisco Giants when Cepeda joined the team in 1958. He included Juan Marichal in the group although the records show Marichal did not make his big league debut until 1960.

3. Markusen discusses the Giants' first visit to New York to play the Mets in 1962 and says they played at Shea Stadium. The Mets, as any baseball fan knows, played their first two years at the Polo Grounds and did not move to Shea until 1964.

4. The Atlanta Braves met the Mets for the National League pennant in the first playoff series when divisional play began in 1969. It was a best-of-three series at that time, not a best-of-five as is stated in the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great history on a Hall of Fame Player
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