In the late 60's, Cecil was a top reliever in the league. He and Claude Raymond teamed up to make a good late innings combination for the Braves. He helped them to the NL West title in 1969 and pitched well agains the Mets as the Braves were swept out. He even hit his only homer in 1969.
However guys who are 26 sometimes do things they regret. Cecil fit that category. In the off-season he's having dinner with friends when he decides to show off how he can jump to touch a sign. He was 6'6", after all. He gets his ring finger caught and severs the nerves. He had a lot of surgery and missed the entire 1970 season. Whoops. That's got to go into the list of baseball injuries along with Vince Coleman's tarp, Mike Matheny slicing a finger open and missing the playoffs, Clint Barmes slipping while carrying in groceries and Moises Alou's treadmill. Cecil should have just said he was washing his monster truck.
Cecil came back strong in 1971, but he wasn't the same. He slipped further in 1972 and started bouncing around in 1973. His final season was in 1975 and his K/BB ratio had eroded significantly. Cecil was a sidearmer and I suspect he needed movement to be successful and the injury affected his grip. Cecil had a heart attack and passed away in 1995. He and BJ Ryan of the Blue Jays are the only pitchers from Centenary to play in the big leagues.
Cecil got to play with his cousin, George Stone, with the Braves. Of his 78 Braves' saves, 12 of them came in George Stone's wins. That would have made nice talk around the Thanksgiving table at their grandparents' house.
Here's a brief return, but it doesn't have much to do with the world 37 years ago. On March 17, 1972, future baseball wife Mia Hamm was born. She seems to be a nice gal for a Tar Heel.