On Feb. 13, 2012 -- exactly five years ago today -- the Athletics agreed to a four-year, $36 million deal with an outfielder from Cuba named Yoenis Cespedes. Maybe it was because of his years of success in the Cuban League, or his .458 average at the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Maybe it was his ability to both lift an incredible amount of weights and immaculately roast a pig:
Whatever convinced the A's to sign Yo, we're very glad they did, because it's given us five years of dingers, cars and Disney homages. So, to show thanks, we've put together five of Cespedes' most iconic moments -- one for each year of his already unforgettable career.
2012: The First Homer
He wasn't always the slugger we know and love today, though. When he first came to the States, Cespedes was a complete question mark: What sort of player was he? Would his power translate to the Major Leagues? Two games into his rookie season, we got a resounding answer:
Yo's first big league home run, an absolute laser off Mariners reliever Shawn Kelley, gave the A's a seventh-inning lead -- and put us all on notice.
2013: The Home Run Derby
Over a year later, Cespedes had already established himself as one of the game's rising stars, having finished 10th in 2012 AL MVP voting thanks to a .292/.356/.505 slash line. And then the 2013 Home Run Derby rolled around, and he graduated from "very good hitter" to "Immortal Dinger God and Supreme Ruler of All He Surveys."
Yo hit 32 dingers in all, including 17 (!) in the first round, on his way to a win over some kid named Bryce Harper. He hit homers to the third deck. He hit homers into low orbit. He even hit a homer over a truck:
2014: The Throw
Of course, Cespedes' game is far more than just dingers. Case in point: His throw against the Angels back in 2014, which needs no further introduction:
We're still convinced he bobbled that ball just to give himself a challenge.
2015: The Bat Flip
Just a few weeks after permanently altering the Earth's rotation, Cespedes was traded to the Red Sox, the first of three deals he was involved in over a calendar year. When the carousel stopped spinning, Yo landed in Queens -- much to the delight of Jerry Seinfeld -- and quickly went about becoming a folk hero.
Cespedes smacked 17 homers and posted a .942 OPS over the season's final 57 games, winning the hearts, minds and stomachs of Mets fans everywhere as New York stormed to the NL East crown. Next up was the Dodgers in the NLDS, and, well:
We humbly submit this GIF to the Library of Congress for historic preservation:
2016: The Pig
After re-signing with the Mets over the winter, Cespedes showed up to Spring Training ready to work. But, like any great athlete, he understood that nutrition is a vital part of any offseason preparation -- so he went and bought himself a hog:
Here's to another five years, Yo.