Rating the Greatest Baseball Players of All Time

My rankings of the greatest baseball players ever, starting with number 1, in order.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005
 
Number 211: Cesar Cedeno.

People have already forgotten how good he was, because the memory is of promise unfulfilled; but for several seasons, even held back by the Astrodome, he was one of the best players in the NL, and the best center fielder in the league. The Astros signed Cedeno as a Dominican amateur in 1967 at age 16, and played 90 games for Houston in 1970 at age 19 and batted .310. He was one of the great "young players" in history in his early 20s, leading the league in doubles in 1971 and 1972, batting .320 in 1972 and '73, and driving in 102 runs in 1974 before he turned 25 years old.

Nevertheless, after five Gold Gloves in a row, it was all downhill for Cedeno. He didn't become Willie Mays, and his last year as an All-Star was 1976. He batted .309 in 1980, but he didn't seem special anymore. The spark wasn't there, the power waned, the speed faded. Cedeno had one last moment of glory when he was traded to St. Louis for the stretch drive in 1985 and batted .434 in 28 games down the stretch, keying the team's World Series run. After a part-time year in 1976, he was done. It was an anticlimactic end to a career that looked like it might belong to one of the all-time greats. Cedeno was still pretty darn good.

Cedeno earned 139.06 ratings points.

Cedeno's stats: .285 average, 2087 hits, 199 HR, 550 SB.