Orlando Cepeda appears to be a happy player, with little regret that he no longer was with the Cardinals, who traded him to the Braves prior to the start of the season. “I’m very happy with this club,” said Cepeda. “Everybody has been very good to me in Atlanta, both on the ball club and the people in the city. That want to do things for me, personally. Yes, I am happy.” Cepeda was a leader on a close-knit Cardinal club the past three seasons, especially the last two. “At St. Louis,” he said, “there was always something going on, a lot of ripping in the clubhouse and players having a good time. Here, you don’t see that so much. Maybe it is because the Braves have not been winning. But baseball is made up of a lot of personalities. It is something you have to get used to.”
The affable first baseman from Puerto Rico doesn’t think about the Cardinals any more than he has to. There is no evident animosity, although Cepeda figures the front-office brass on the Cardinals soured on him following last season when his offensive production fell off somewhat, from a .319 average, 21 home runs and 104 RBI in 1967 to .286, 15, and 84 last year. “All the players were behind me. They knew that I contributed,” he said. “You know who your friends are when you go bad. Some of them get a little cold. I am speaking of the front office when I say that, no the players because we always pulled together.”
“I never look behind me in this game,” he continued, “but always forward. You can’t change something after it has happened. So, I don’t miss anything about St. Louis.” Now Cepeda wants to get on with it. He wants to help the Braves win a pennant and is going about it the right way.