Pedro Anibal Cepeda
(Perucho, The Bull)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 200 lb.
Pedro Cepeda, known as "Perucho" or "The Bull", was the father of Orlando Cepeda and a legendary Caribbean player. He was called the "Babe Ruth" of Puerto Rico because he was Puerto Rico's best player for many years.
A number of people, including reportedly his own son Orlando, have been quoted as saying that Pedro was even a better player than Orlando.
Cepeda played in professional ball in Puerto Rico from 1938-50, hitting over .400 at least a couple of times. He won back-to-back batting titles in 1938-1939 (.465) and 1939-1940 (.383); his son duplicated the feat 20 years later. In his second title, he edged Josh Gibson for the batting crown by three points. His five home runs that year ranked second to Gibson, who connected six, and his 8 triples tied Ed Stone for the lead. In 1940-1941, he hit .421, finishing third and ahead of legends like Buck Leonard, Roy Campanella and Monte Irvin. He led the league in RBI's with 47.
His is the only Puerto Rican to bat .400+ in two positions: as a shortstop and first baseman.
Alex Pompez of the New York Cubans tried to sign Cepeda many times. In 1941, he was listed on their roster, but no record has turned up of him playing a game. Cepeda was noted as being very distasteful of the racism in the United States and this is believed to be the primary reason he spent his career in Latin America.
He played for Guayama, San Juan, Caguas, Santurce, Mayaguez, Ponce, and also saw action in the Dominican Republic with the famous Estrellas de Trujillo team; and in Venezuela. He was a shortstop, known for a great arm, also playing first base and the outfield later in his career.
From around 1942 on, he worked for the San Juan Water Department, but still played baseball.
Sources include The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley, The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway and information provided by historian Jorge Colón Delgado.