In honor of the impending Midsummer Classic(tm) this post seeks nominations for the Cesar Cedeno All-Stars. To qualify for the CCAS, a player has to have had such a great start to his career that he had one foot in the Hall of Fame well before the age of 30, but then had the rest of his career be a major disappointment, to the point where he wasn’t even considered a marginal HOF candidate by the time his name appeared on the ballot.
Cesar Cedeno piled up 40 Wins Above Replacement by the age of 26, and was probably the best player in baseball in the early 1970s, although this was obscured by the fact he played for a bad team in a horrible hitter’s park while wearing a hideous uniform that looked like it was designed as a joke by the least sartorially gifted of the Gibb Brothers after a night of doing lines at Studio 54.
After that he played another decade, and for no apparent reason had only one season where he was worth anything.
I’m going to throw three more nominees out there before opening the floor to the teeming millions.
40.2 of his 54.1 WAR was racked up through age 26.
One of the most talented players in history. Pretty clear what happened here.
Maybe not an ideal case as he remained a reasonably valuable player for a long time after his mid-20s, but he was clearly a superstar for about four years and then suddenly he was just an ordinary player.