Fenway Park Field

March 23, 1973

On this day, Red Sox manager Eddie Kasko made it clear that Orlando Cepeda had a place on his 1973 Red Sox, smitten by the pop that  Ccpeda still carried in his 41-once bat.

It didn’t take more than a few halting steps down the first-base line for non-medical, non-managerial and non-cynical baseball fans to see that Cepeda could not run. That is, putting one foot in front of the other in something quicker than a crawl.

The designated hitter arrived just in time to give Cepeda another big-league season.

In his third game with Boston he belted a walk-off homer to beat the Yankees at Fenway Park. Suddenly, no one cared whether he could run or not.

Cepeda finished the season hitting .291 with 20 homers and 86 RBIs, earning himself the Outstanding Designated Hitter of the Year honors.

But no one who drives a ball into the center-field triangle, right where it is marked at 420 feet, and needs to slide to slide into second base for a double, is obviously not a long-term member of a good team’s lineup.

The Red Sox cut him near the end of their 1974 training camp. The Royals snatched him up for a brief tryout, saw him wobble down the basepaths, and let him go.

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