Born: Mar 11, 1948
Three-time Gold Glove centerfielder Cesar Geronimo was, along with Dave Concepcion, one of the two defensive stars of Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine," a team best known for its hitting. He reached the postseason five times in nine years with the Reds.
The New York Yankees signed Geronimo as a free agent in February 1967. From the start he was an outstanding fielder, but he hit poorly even in the minors, posting averages of only .100, .071, and .194. The Astros drafted him in December 1968, and he spent parts of three seasons on their bench, hitting .228. Then, in November 1971, Houston traded him, with Joe Morgan, to the Reds.
Geronimo found a home in Cincinnati and quickly became the Reds' centerfielder. He won his first Gold Glove in 1974 and the next year led NL outfielders in putouts, total chances, and double plays.
Geronimo was basically a slap hitter and, in 1976, it all came together for him at the plate. That year, he was part of a .300 outfield for the Reds; he batted .307 - the only time he topped .300 - and Ken Griffey hit .336 and George Foster .306. However, he didn't come within 40 points of that average again. On July 4, 1980, he made a minor footnote in the record books when he became the 3,000th strikeout victim of Nolan Ryan; he already had been number 3,000 for Bob Gibson, on July 17, 1974. "I was just at the right place at the right time," he said.
Traded to Kansas City in January 1981, Geronimo was granted free agency at season's end, but stayed with the Royals. He retired after the 1983 season.