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Baseball Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda Critical after Cardiac Incident, Community Concerned

FAIRFIELD -- The San Francisco Giants say Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda remains hospitalized in critical condition after a cardiac incident.

For the community in Fairfield, where the baseball legend resides, Cepeda's hospitalization came as a shock.

"I know that he liked being athletic. I know he was working out down there, and might have just overdone it," said a neighbor of Cepeda and his late wife Marian.

The next door neighbor and family friend did not want to be identified when FOX40 spoke with her Wednesday, but she said their entire community was shocked to hear that the 80-year old Cepeda had suffered a 'cardiac event'.

"We're just holding good thoughts and prayers for him to be better," the neighbor said.

The Giants gave an update Wednesday on the condition of the 80-year-old Cepeda. He was taken to a Bay Area hospital late Monday.

Cepeda has been a regular at San Francisco Giants home games. He played first base during his 17 seasons in the majors, beginning with the Giants. He also played for St. Louis, Atlanta, Oakland, Boston and Kansas City.

In a statement this morning, the Giants said, "[Cepeda] remains in critical condition at a Bay Area hospital. The Cepeda family asks for privacy during this time. Please keep Orlando and his family in your thoughts and prayers."

A seven-time All-Star who played in three World Series, Cepeda was the 1958 NL Rookie of the Year with San Francisco and NL MVP in 1967 with St. Louis. In 1961, he led the NL with 46 homers and 142 RBIs. Cepeda was a .297 career hitter with 379 home runs.

Following his retirement from Major League Baseball, Cepeda eventually ended up in Fairfield, where Cepeda is a 'giant' in the community he's called home for more than a quarter-century.

One of his favorite spots to eat is Evelyn's Big Italian in Downtown Fairfield.

Iero Tropeano, the restaurant's owner said, "He loved the eggplant parmesan. You know, we make it fresh."

Tropeano and Cepeda have been friends for more than 20 years.

The 'Big Italian'  remembers being invited to Cepeda's 60th birthday party.

"We had a good time, a good time. I made him a big pizza, 32 inches, and it's had a '60' on the pizza," said Tropeano.

Cepeda's likeness is all over the restaurant -- from signed pictures to bats, but since Monday evening, Tropeano has had a lot of customers asking about the health of the 'Baby Bull.'

"I hope he's okay, and God is with him," said Tropeano. "You know, I hope he comes through."