Always a crowd favorite in New York, Cerone, a New Jersey native, was able to play
near home when the Yankees acquired him from the Blue Jays after 1979. Cerone's finest
season was 1980, when he finished seventh in AL MVP voting and had career highs in
batting average (.277), home runs (14), and RBI (85).
Cerone earned the respect
of his teammates by talking back to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner after the boss
chewed out his team before the decisive Game 5 of the 1981 Divisional Playoffs. Cerone
homered in that game, a 7-3 Yankees win.
Injuries hampered Cerone in 1982-84, and
he was traded to Atlanta, where he played a year before being traded to Milwaukee.
The Yankees signed him as a free agent before 1987, and he played in over 100 games
for the first time since 1981. Twice he pitched, allowing no hits and only one walk
in two innings, including a strikeout of Texas pitcher Bobby Witt, who was pinch
hitting in a blowout. Let go by the Yankees in 1987, Cerone was picked up by the
Red Sox and had renewed success sharing catching duties with Rich Gedman. In his final final seasons Cerone saw action with both New York teams before closing out his career with 33 games for the Expos in 1992.
Contribute your recollections of Rick Cerone by clicking here.
»July 19, 1987: Texas wins a 20–3 laugher over the Yankees. Steve Buechele has two homers to pace the offense. In the 9th inning, catcher Rick Cerone takes the mound and walks one but allows no runs.
»August 9, 1987:
In a 15–4 Tiger mauling of the Yankees, New York catcher Rick Cerone takes the mound. Again, he walks one batter and allows no runs, the second time in three weeks he's caught and pitched in the same game.
»May 9, 1989:
Mets SS Kevin Elster and Red Sox catcher Rick Cerone end their ML-record errorless game streaks for their positions. Elster had played 88 consecutive games without an error while Cerone had played 159.
»August 8, 1989:
The Royals' Flash Gordon stops the visiting Red Sox, 8–1. Sox C Rick Cerone starts the game behind the plate, then moves to RF for the first time in his career.
»September 12, 1997: Florida C Charles Johnson sets a major league record by playing his 160th straight game without committing an error. The previous mark was set by Rick Cerone. The Marlins lose the game, however, 1-0 to the Giants.