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SF Giants All-Time Lists

San Francisco Giants: 10 best first basemen in franchise history

SAN FRANCISCO - 1989: Will Clark #22 of the San Francisco Giants high fives teammates during a game in the 1989 season at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - 1989: Will Clark #22 of the San Francisco Giants high fives teammates during a game in the 1989 season at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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4. Orlando Cepeda (1958-1966), San Francisco Giants

Stats: 140 OPS+, .308/.352/.535, 1,286 H, 226 HR, 767 RBI, 652 R
WAR: 30.4 rWAR/29.1 fWAR
Accolades: Hall of Fame (1999), 10x All-Star
WS Titles: 0

Orlando Cepeda burst onto the scene in 1958 as a 20-year-old rookie.

“Baby Bull” hit .312/.342/.512 with 38 doubles, 25 home runs and 96 RBI in his debut to win NL Rookie of the Year honors and finish ninth in NL MVP voting.

He was just getting started.

In his first seven seasons in the majors, Cepeda hit .309/.353/.537 while averaging 32 doubles, 32 home runs and 107 RBI.

While he was a steady producer every year during that stretch, he took his game to another level in 1961, hitting .311/.362/.609 and led the NL in home runs (46) and RBI (142). He finished runner-up to Reds slugger Frank Robinson in NL MVP voting.

Unfortunately, Cepeda’s time with the Giants ended in disappointing fashion.

After suffering through an injury-shortened 1965 season where he played in just 33 games and hit .176, he was traded to the Cardinals early in the 1966 season in exchange for pitcher Ray Sadecki.

Just 28 years old at the time of the trade, Cepeda returned to form and won NL MVP honors with the Cardinals in 1967. He went on to play nine more seasons after leaving the Giants, and he was productive right up until the end, finishing 15th in AL MVP voting while playing with the Red Sox as a 35-year-old in 1973.

After falling just short of Hall of Fame enshrinement with 73.5 percent of the vote in his final year on the ballot in 1994, Cepeda was inducted by the Veteran’s Committee in 1999.

He’ll forever wear a Giants hat on his Hall of Fame plaque.

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