SF Giants announce the passing of Hall of Fame first baseman Orlando Cepeda

During a pregame ceremony the San Francisco Giants
During a pregame ceremony the San Francisco Giants / MONICA M. DAVEY/GettyImages

During Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the SF Giants confirmed the passing of Hall of Fame first baseman Orlando Cepeda. He was 86.

SF Giants announce the passing of Hall of Fame first baseman Orlando Cepeda

It has been a rough few weeks for the baseball community. First, Willie Mays passed away at the age of 93 right before the series at Rickwood Field. Mays played on that same field as a 17-year-old outfielder with the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro League.

Less than two weeks, Cepeda has passed away as well. Both have left an incredible and lasting mark on baseball. Cepeda debuted with the Giants in 1958, beginning a 17-year career that would eventually land him in the Hall of Fame.

As a rookie, he slashed .312/.342/.512 with 25 home runs, 96 RBI, and 88 runs in 644 plate appearances. He also led baseball with 38 doubles. Not surprisingly, he took home NL Rookie of the Year honors and earned some down-ballot MVP votes. That 1958 team was loaded with talent like Cepeda, Mays, Felipe Alou , Johnny Antonelli , and Mike McCormick. A year later, Willie McCovey would join that group.

Cepeda played with the Giants for nine seasons before he was shipped to the St. Louis Cardinals in May of 1966 in exchange for Ray Sadecki. He played for eight more years while making stops with the Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Oakland A's, Boston Red Sox, and Kansas City Royals. He was the 1967 NL MVP with the Cardinals in a year where he posted a .923 OPS with 25 home runs while leading the league with 111 RBI.

Overall, the longtime first baseman/outfielder finished his career with 2,351 hits, 379 home runs, and 1,365 RBI. Unfortunately, he did not get elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in 15 years on the ballot. In his 15th and final year of eligibility, Cepeda appeared on 73.5 percent of the ballots, falling just shy of the 75-percent threshold needed for induction.

The Veterans Committee corrected that error as they elected Cepeda to the Hall of Fame in 1999. His Hall of Fame class included Nolan Ryan, George Brett, and Robin Yount.

Since his playing days came to an end, Cepeda continued to work as an ambassador for the Giants. He was one of many franchise greats to be included and honored during the Giants' championship run in the 2010's. In addition to this, he often worked with the at-risk youth of San Francisco, serving as a mentor and role model.

The Giants unveiled a bronze statue of Cepeda at Oracle Park in 2008 for his efforts both on and off the field. In a lot of ways, he helped pave the way for a new generation of baseball players. We at Around the Foghorn would like to extend our condolences to the Cepeda family as well as his loved ones.