When the Oakland A's signed Yoenis Cespedes before the 2012 season, it hit many baseball fans as a shock. I remember when it happened I let my friends and family know right away. Obviously, with Cespedes coming from overseas I was asked plenty of questions; most I didn't have answers for. Me not following much baseball outside of the MLB and it's minor league affiliates, I hadn't seen him play when he was with the Cuban national team. All I had was a YouTube video, yes, a YouTube video. But that was pretty much all I needed. I saw a big bodied player, with speed and agility like a running back. Then I saw the swing, the power, and pretty much knew he was going to be my favorite player.
Aside from utter shock that Billy Beane had signed a player that other teams had, not only heard of, but, actually coveted. It had been a while since the A's had made a move that got Oakland some attention, aside from the Hideki Matsui signing the year before, of which I wanted Vladimir Guerrero, but that's a different story. The A's had just cashed out a 4 year/$36 million contract to this guy. (That being our equivalent to any major $100 million+ signing for bigger teams.)
A player like this hadn't touched down in Oakland since... Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson.
*Disclaimer: No I am not saying Yo is close to what Bo was, but they do have similarities.*
Sadly, I only remember watching Bo Jackson highlights as a kid, but I was- and still am - amazed that a man of his size could do the things he did. He was a total freak of nature. If only he had been drafted by the A's and played with them and my Raiders. I can dream, right?
But after watching the documentary "You Don't Know Bo" on ESPN (If you haven't seen it, go watch it right now), I realized, Cespedes, comparable in size, speed, and athleticism, still needed a bunch of stories to create his own legend, like the mythical one Bo Jackson still has to this day.
And 2012 is when the legend started. It began with a 2 run shot in Japan in Oakland's second game of the season, The athleticism: He made a catch in the outfield that resembled Bo's famous catch where he walked on the outfield wall, and Harold Reynolds even brought it up on MLB Network's "Top 100 Right Now". Yoenis, however stopped himself before the wall. The speed: Cespedes stole a base, which isn't spectacular, but the way he did it was. He was standing straight up, not in any sort of athletic position, but then he turned his hip and stole 3rd with the throw not having a chance. The power: Cespedes hit a home run to deep left center at the end of the season, that can only be defined as, "wow".
Now, none of those are close to the stories about a young Bo Jackson jumping over 30 foot ditches or killing pigs with stones, (maybe since Cespedes' family is in the US we'll hear some of the stories of a young Yo in Cuba), they're all just great feats. But then this off-season it really began.
When the stories of Cespedes hitting a home run into a suite in Mt. Davis and another home run with a donut on his bat (pictured above) blew up, it was then I knew, his legend would continue to grow. Cespedes is leaving his mark with every at bat and we could all potentially be watching a legend in the making. Now, we just need him to throw on some shoulder pads- oh and dunk a stick.