Orlando Cepeda, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999, is recognized nationally for his humanitarian efforts as an ambassador for baseball and the San Francisco Giants. He begins his 26th season as a community representative for the team and is a member of the Giants Community Fund Advisory Board.
In his current role, the “Baby Bull” visits hospitals, senior centers and inner-city schools in the Bay Area and throughout the United States, speaking to “at-risk” children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. The 83-year-old Ponce, P.R. native also serves as the honorary spokesman for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, Meals on Wheels San Francisco and the Curry Senior Center.
A lifetime .297 hitter with 379 home runs and 1,364 RBI during his 17-year playing career with the Giants, Cardinals, Braves, A’s, Red Sox and Royals, Cepeda hit a home run against the Dodgers in his very first Major League game April 15, 1958. He went on to win 1958 Rookie of the Year honors, the 1966 Comeback Player of the Year award, the 1967 NL Most Valuable Player trophy and 1973 Designated Hitter of the Year laurels. He appeared in three World Series, was a six-time All-Star and hit over .300 nine times in his career.
On July 25, 1999, Cepeda was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame during ceremonies in Cooperstown, NY. He became only the second Puerto Rico native to enter the Hall, joining Roberto Clemente. Two weeks earlier on July 11, 1999, Cepeda had his uniform No. 30 retired by the Giants during ceremonies at Candlestick Park. As one of the 12 players in the Giants’ 136-year history to have their jersey number retired, he joins Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Barry Bonds as the only six San Francisco players to receive such an honor.
In 1993, the Baby Bull was also inducted into the Puerto Rico Sports Hall of Fame, while in 1999, he was elected to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame for his great years with the St. Louis Cardinals which followed his tenure with the Giants. In 2004, he was one of four men to receive the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association’s Achievement Awards, the MLBPAA’s highest alumni honor. He was joined by Jim Bunning, Al Kaline and Roger Maris.
Orlando and his wife, Nydia, reside in Concord, CA. He has four sons — Orlando Jr., Carl, Malcolm and Ali Manuel, and several grandchildren.