Born: May 19, 1954|
Newark, New Jersey
|August 17, 1975, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 10, 1992, for the Montreal Expos|
|Runs batted in||436|
Richard Aldo Cerone (born May 19, 1954 in Newark, New Jersey) is a former Major League Baseball player from 1975 to 1992 for the Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and Montreal Expos. Cerone was primarily a catcher.
Cerone played high school baseball and football at Essex Catholic High School.
Major League Career
Cleveland Indians (1975-76)
Cerone was drafted by the Cleveland Indians with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 1975 MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut on August 17, 1975, pinch hitting for first baseman Boog Powell in the top of the ninth inning in a 14-5 win over the Minnesota Twins, as he lined out. Cerone then replaced catcher Alan Ashby in the bottom of the ninth. On August 22, Cerone collected his first career hit, a single off Paul Splittorff of the Kansas City Royals. Overall, he finished the season playing in seven games with the Indians, batting .250.
Cerone saw little action again with the Indians in 1976, hitting .125 with an RBI in seven games with the club. On December 6, the Indians traded Cerone and John Lowenstein to the Toronto Blue Jays for Rico Carty.
Toronto Blue Jays (1977-79)
Cerone joined the Toronto Blue Jays for their expansion season in 1977, and was their starting catcher for their first ever game on April 7. Cerone had two hits for the Blue Jays in a 9-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox. On August 17, Cerone hit his first career home run off of Nelson Briles of the Texas Rangers. Overall, Cerone played in 31 games with Toronto, hitting .200 with a home run and 10 RBI.
He saw more playing time with the Blue Jays in 1978, playing in 88 games, hitting .223 with 3 HR and 23 RBI, as he split his playing time with Alan Ashby. The Jays traded Ashby after the season, and named Cerone as their primary catcher for the 1979 season.
Cerone appeared in 136 games with Toronto in the 1979 season, hitting .239 with 7 HR and his 61 RBI were the fourth highest total on the club. After the season, the Jays and the New York Yankees completed a trade which sent Cerone, Tom Underwood and Ted Wilborn to the Yankees for Damaso Garcia, Chris Chambliss and Paul Mirabella.
New York Yankees (1980-84)
Cerone joined the New York Yankees for the 1980 season, following the death of catcher Thurman Munson the year before. In his first season with the Yankees, Cerone batted .277 with 14 HR and 85 RBI in 147 games, and finished seventh in American League MVP voting, as he helped New York win the American League East division and qualify for the playoffs. Defensively, Cerone led the American League as he threw out 57 attempted stolen base attempts, which was a league best 51.8%. In his first playoffs, Cerone hit .333 with a home run and two RBI, however, the Yankees were swept by the Kansas City Royals in three games.
Cerone's production dipped in the 1981 season, as he hit .244 with 2 HR and 21 RBI in 71 games, however, the Yankees reached the post-season once again. In the playoffs, Cerone hit .333 with a home run and 5 RBI in the Yankees victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League Divisional Series. In the American League Championship Series against the Oakland Athletics, Cerone struggled with a .100 batting average, however, the Yankees won the series and reached the 1981 World Series. In the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cerone hit .190 with a home run and 3 RBI, as the Yankees lost to Los Angeles in six games.
In 1982, Cerone split his playing time with Butch Wynegar, as he appeared in 89 games, hitting .227 with 5 HR and 28 RBI, as the Yankees failed to make the playoffs. Cerone's production continued to drop in 1983, as he hit .220 with 2 HR and 22 RBI in 80 games. In 1984, Cerone became the backup catcher to Wynegar, appearing in only 38 games, batting .208 with 2 HR and 13 RBI. On November 5, the Yankees traded Cerone to the Atlanta Braves for Brian Fisher
Atlanta Braves (1985)
Cerone spent the 1985 season with the Atlanta Braves, splitting time Bruce Benedict as the Braves catcher, as Cerone appeared in 96 games, hitting .216 with 3 HR and 25 RBI. On March 5, 1986, the Braves traded Cerone with two minor leaguers to the Milwaukee Brewers for Ted Simmons.
Milwaukee Brewers (1986)
Cerone played the 1986 season with the Milwaukee Brewers, as he and Charlie Moore shared the catching duties for the club. In 69 games, Cerone hit .259 with 4 HR and 18 RBI. On November 12, Cerone was granted free agency.
New York Yankees (1987)
On February 13, 1987, Cerone rejoined the New York Yankees, where he spent five seasons with the club from 1980-1984. Cerone would play in 113 games, his highest total since appearing in 147 games in the 1980 season, as he hit .243 with 4 HR and 23 RBI. Cerone played with the Yankees during Spring Training in 1988, however, on April 4, the Yankees released him.
Boston Red Sox (1988-89)
Cerone signed with the Boston Red Sox on April 15, 1988, and in 84 games with the Red Sox, Cerone had a .269 batting average with 3 HR and 27 RBI, as he and Rich Gedman shared the catching duties. The Red Sox won the American League East division, however, Cerone did not appear in any playoff games.
He returned to the Red Sox for the 1989 season, as Cerone hit .243 with 4 HR and 48 RBI in 102 games with Boston, however, the Red Sox fell short in making the post-season. On December 19, Boston released Cerone.
New York Yankees (1990)
On December 20, 1989, one day after being released by the Boston Red Sox, Cerone rejoined the Yankees for a third time, as he signed with the club as a free agent. Cerone backed up Yankees starting catcher Bob Geren, as he appeared in only 49 games, hitting .302 with 2 HR and 11 RBI in limited action. On January 13, 1991, the Yankees released Cerone.
New York Mets (1991)
On January 21, 1991, Cerone signed a contract with the New York Mets, where he split playing time with Charlie O'Brien. In 90 games with the Mets, Cerone hit .273 with 2 HR and 16 RBI. On October 7, he was granted free agency.
Montreal Expos (1992)
On February 12, 1992, Cerone signed as a free agent with the Montreal Expos. Cerone hit .270 with a home run and 7 RBI with the Expos in 33 games as the backup to Gary Carter, however, with the emergence of Darrin Fletcher, the Expos released Cerone on July 16.
Cerone finished his career with a .245 batting average, as he had 998 career hits, 59 HR and 436 RBI in 1329 games. In 17 career playoff games, Cerone hit .246 with 3 HR and 10 RBI.
Cerone lived in Cresskill, New Jersey in the 1990s. and later in Teaneck, New Jersey, Montclair, New Jersey and Woodland Park, New Jersey. He has three daughters: Jessica, Carly and Nikki and commutes between homes in Woodland Park and Long Branch, New Jersey to be with his daughters.
"A Long Run Home"
In 1981, Cerone recorded "A Long Run Home," a song released as a 7" single on the Reel Dreams label. The song, written by Carl Henry and Bill Hudak and recorded in Newington, Connecticut, is sung from the point of view of a Newark baseball player visiting a New York Stadium during a snowstorm. The record sleeve notes that "Rick Cerone's royalties will be donated to the Italian earthquake Victims Fund." The single failed to chart in the US.
- Gramlich, Barry. "PASSAIC DROPS A HAMMER ON BC", The Record (Bergen County), October 3, 1993. Accessed October 23, 2007. "Turn back the calendar to 1971 when former Yankee Rick Cerone was the Essex Catholic quarterback against Bergen Catholic."
- Yankees in major deals with Mariners, Jays
- Smith, Claire. "Cerone Is Happy to Join Mets After Weak Year With Yanks", The New York Mets, January 22, 1991. Accessed January 2, 2008. "'I wanted to play for the Mets,' Cerone said by telephone from his Cresskill, N.J., home. 'I wanted to play for a contender. And I wanted to stay close to home.'"
- Hoffman, Jan. "PUBLIC LIVES; Cerone's Back in the Minors, and Loving It", The New York Times, July 8, 1999. Accessed November 12, 2013. "For even when injuries and attitude sliced at his batting average, the Yankee catcher Rick Cerone resisted playing for the minors.Yet here he is, 45 years old, still with a swagger and a religious medal on a gold chain. But chastened now, living in Teaneck, divorced with three daughters, hair gone steely, two aching thumbs, he is the owner of a fledgling independent minor league team: the Newark Bears."
- New Jersey Legislative Digest, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed October 23, 2007. "TO BE A MEMBER OF THE NEW JERSEY HALL OF FAME ADVISORY COMMISSION: Rick Cerone, of West Paterson *NOT* Fort Lee."
- Klapisch, Bob. "Home Team: The pride of former Yankee Rick Cerone is being the father of daughters Jessica, Carly and Nikki", (201) magazine, June 2010. Accessed March 3, 2011. "Cerone's goes out of his way to dispense this advice. He's divorced, splitting time between his two homes in Woodland Park and Long Branch, making the daily drive to Bergen to see his daughters growing up on and off the field."
- Cooper, B. L. & Haney, W. S. (1995). Rock music in American popular culture: Rock 'n' roll resources. Routledge.
- Rick Cerone / Dusty Road Band, The — A Long Run Home: http://www.discogs.com/Rick-Cerone-Dusty-Road-Band-A-Long-Run-Home/release/1488096
- Grimsley, Will. (1981, February 11). "Busy Yankee Rick Cerone May Become a Recording Star.", Ocala Star-Banner, p. C-3.
- Cerone, Rick. (1981). "A Long Run Home" [7" 45 RPM vinyl record]. Bloomfield, CT: Reel Dreams Records.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors), or Retrosheet, or Venezuelan Winter League