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Rick Cerone

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1981 Topps #335 Rick Cerone

Richard Aldo Cerone

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[edit] Biographical Information

Although Rick Cerone hit only .245 lifetime in the majors, his excellent 1980 season for the New York Yankees got him a lot of attention and people always felt he might do it again. Cerone ended up playing 18 years in the majors.

Cerone won Gold with the USA at the 1974 Amateur World Series. He was a first-round pick in 1975 by the Cleveland Indians and came to the majors that same year for seven games. His only time in the minors was at the Triple A level. He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays before the 1977 season, and gradually got more and more playing time with the jays until 1979, when he was the team's primary catcher, but he never hit as high as .240.

Traded to the Yankees before the 1980 season to succeed the late Thurman Munson behind the plate, he had his best year that season, hitting .277 with 14 home runs and 30 doubles on a Yankee team that won 103 games. He finished #7 in the MVP voting. In the following four seasons with the Yankees, he never hit over .244 (he suffered from injuries), began to share playing time with Butch Wynegar and others, and then was traded to the Atlanta Braves for one year, where he hit .216. He was their starter during the 1981 postseason, hitting .333 with a homer in the ALDS, but falling to .100 in the ALCS and .190 in the World Series, although he did hit another homer.

The last years of his career were spent as a journeyman, making seven major league stops in eight years, including two returns to the Yankees, as he was always a favorite of owner George Steinbrenner.

In 1987, the Yankees used him twice as a pitcher, and he gave up no hits or runs in two innings.

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