Originally published Feb. 22, 2012
Andujar Cedeno was in a slump earlier in 1994, Cedeno believed he was swinging at too many high fastballs and was swinging too hard, he told The Associated Press.
"Now," he told The AP at the start of June, "I'm just trying to get base hits with whatever they throw me. Even though I was looking for the fastball, I was glad to see the curve."
The result, The AP wrote, was a two-run, bases-loaded single that proved the difference in a 5-3 Astros victory.
Cedeno was in his fifth season with time in the majors in 1994, ultimately hitting .263 that year. That was two seasons after he hit just .173 over 71 games with Houston.
Cedeno went on to play in two more seasons in the majors, for a total of seven. And he continued playing, in the minors, through 2000.
But Cedeno's playing days, and his life, were cut short that October, when he was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic.
Cedeno's career began in 1986, signed by the Astros as an amateur free agent out of his homeland. He didn't start playing in the states, though, until 1988, with the Astros' team in the rookie Gulf Coast League. His brother Domingo Cedeno also made the majors.
He moved to single-A Asheville in 1989, then AA Columbus in 1990. That year in 1990, Cedeno also made Houston as a September call-up.
With Houston in 1990, Cedeno got into seven games, with eight plate appearances. He didn't get a hit.
But Cedeno returned in 1991 for 67 games. This time, he got 61 hits in 251 at bats, for a .243 average.
For 1992, Cedeno started in Houston, spending the first two months there. But he hit just .186 in those two months before being sent down to AAA Tucson.
He was back, though, by Aug. 25, just in time for him to hit for the cycle. In that game, Cedeno went 4 for 6, his double and single both coming in extra innings.
"I wasn't thinking about the cycle," Cedeno told The AP afterward. "I was just thinking about hitting the ball hard and making contact."
Cedeno, though, finished the year hitting .173. In 1993, he got his average up to that .283, playing in 149 games.
Going into that year, though, there was uncertainty about Cedeno's role with the team, with the Astros trying to draw in a big name free agent for shortstop, and, failing that, having another player ready to go, should Cedeno not work out.
''I can't worry about that,'' Cedeno told The Orlando Sentinel of the speculation. ''I can't worry about anything except me, the only thing I have control over."
And it was Cedeno who was the Astros shortstop for 1993. He was also the shortstop for much of 1994, getting into 98 games in the strike-shortened year.
For 1995, Cedeno was traded to the Padres in a massive 12-player deal. He became the Padres' shortstop that year, hitting .210.
He played in one more season in the majors, 1996, between the Padres, Tigers and Astros, ending his big league career.
Cedeno returned in 1999 to play with the Yankees at AAA Columbus. In 2000, he largely played in the Mexican League, but also played 12 games at independent Nashua.
It was in November 2000 that Cedeno was killed in the car crash. He was 31 years old.