Ron Cey

Ronald Charles Cey (/ˈs/; born February 15, 1948), nicknamed "Penguin", is an American former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as a third baseman from 1971 through 1987, most notably as an integral member of the Los Angeles Dodgers teams that won four National League pennants and one World Series championship. A six-time All-Star, Cey was named the World Series MVP after leading the Dodgers to victory during the 1981 World Series. He ended his career playing for the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland Athletics. Cey was nicknamed "The Penguin" for his slow waddling running gait by his college coach, Chuck "Bobo" Brayton.[1][2]

Ron Cey
Third baseman
Born: (1948-02-15) February 15, 1948
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 3, 1971, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
July 12, 1987, for the Oakland Athletics
MLB statistics
Batting average.261
Home runs316
Runs batted in1,139
Career highlights and awards

Early years

Born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, Cey was a multi-sport athlete at Mount Tahoma High School, its first to earn nine varsity letters.[2] Following graduation in 1966, he attended Washington State University in Pullman and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Cey played two years of college baseball for the Cougars, on the freshman team in 1967, and a year on the varsity under head coach Brayton in 1968.[1][2][3] He was selected in the second phase of the 1968 MLB draft in June.[4]

Professional career

Cey at bat for the Dodgers

With the Dodgers, third baseman Cey was part of an All-Star infield that included Steve Garvey (first baseman), Davey Lopes (second baseman) and Bill Russell (shortstop). The four infielders stayed together as the Dodgers' starters for eight and a half years. In 1977, he was named NL Player of the Month in April after helping the Dodgers to a fast start by batting .425 with 9 home runs and a major league record 29 RBIs for the month of April.[5] The Dodgers won the Western Division title that season on their way to the National League pennant.

Cey continued to have productive seasons with the Dodgers, helping them to pennants in 1978 and 1981. After the 1982 season, the Dodgers traded Cey to the Chicago Cubs for two minor leaguers so that Pedro Guerrero could move to third base and rookie Mike Marshall could get in the Dodgers' outfield. Cey provided veteran leadership for the Cubs over four seasons and, in 1984, helped lead the Cubs to the National League East Division title, hitting 25 homers and driving in 97 runs, both team highs. Cey spent the final year of his career in 1987 as a part-time player with the Oakland A's.

In a 16-season career, Cey was a .261 hitter with 316 home runs and 1139 RBI in 2073 games.

Cey finished in the top 25 in National League MVP voting four times with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1974-1977) and once with the Chicago Cubs (1984). His highest position in MVP voting came in 1977, when he finished eighth with a career-high 30 home runs and 110 RBIs. In 1973, he finished sixth in National League Rookie of the Year voting.[6]

Cey played in the 1981 World Series, helping the Dodgers to four straight victories after losing their first two games, including his return for the clinching Game 6 after being hit in the head by a wild Goose Gossage fastball, and helped off the field in Game 5. Cey was named co-MVP along with Steve Yeager and Pedro Guerrero, and won the annual Babe Ruth Award.[7] He is still a part of the Dodgers organization and continues to make appearances on the team's behalf.

"Cey, called Penguin for his peculiar way of running, was a grumpy little guy," recalled Dodger teammate Tommy John. "If you came into the locker room and said 'Hi, how you doing, Penguin?' and he gave you a grunt, you knew he liked you. We called him Mr. Personality. As a defensive player, his range was limited and so was his arm, but he was accurate. If he caught the ball, it was an out. Offensively, he was capable of outbursts of slugging that could carry the team."[8]

In 1990, Cey appeared as himself in the "Uneasy Lies the Crown" episode of the television series "Columbo", which aired on the ABC network. In the episode Cey played poker with actors Dick Sargent and Nancy Walker.[9]

Career Hitting[10]
2,073 7,162 1,868 328 21 316 977 1,139 24 1,012 1,235 .261 .354 .445 .799

See also


  1. Bolton, Barry (March 24, 2010). "Ron Cey sets record straight on 'The Penguin'". Coug Fan. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  2. "Flashback: Ron Cey, Mount Tahoma, Class of 1966". Seattle Times. May 11, 2004. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  3. "Washington State University Baseball Players Who Made It to the Major Leagues". Archived from the original on 12 August 2004. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
  4. "Draft tabs Pac-8 stars". Spokane Daily Chronicle. June 8, 1968. p. 8.
  5. "Montreal Expos at Los Angeles Dodgers Box Score, April 30, 1977 -".
  6. "Ron Cey Stats -".
  7. "Babe Ruth Award on Baseball Almanac".
  8. John, Tommy; Valenti, Dan (1991). TJ: My Twenty-Six Years in Baseball. New York: Bantam. p. 168. ISBN 0-553-07184-X.
  9. "Uneasy Lies the Crown". IMDb.

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