Blog #45 (Doug DeCinces)

By Richard J. Decker on February 6, 2013 7:00 AM

This week there is no legal section of the blog.

Now for the Opening Day memory:

Not only did I get the opportunity to interview Doug DeCinces about Opening Day, I also got to sit next to him at the Rolling Stones show at Angels Stadium (either 2005 or 2006 - I think). Doug was a right-handed power hitting third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles and California Angels for 15 years from 1973-1987. He concluded his MLB career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1987 and actually played with the Yakult Swallows in Japan in 1988. Doug succeeded Brooks Robinson in Baltimore (a very hard act to follow) and was traded to the Angels before the 1982 season to make room for Cal Ripken, Jr. So he truly was a bridge between those two Hall of Famers, and although not a Hall of Famer himself (he did become a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame in 2006), he was a very solid player in his own right. He finished his career with a not too shabby 237 home runs, made the A.L. All Star team in 1983 and has one of the most memorable game winning home runs in Orioles history for the 1979 A.L. pennant winners (who lost to the Willie Stargell led "We Are Family" Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1979 World Series). Here is Doug's Opening Day memory.

DeCinces.jpg"In the 1978 Opener, we got killed by Milwaukee. Believe it or not, I played second base and Eddie Murray played third! I went 3-4 but we got killed. This was the first year Brooks Robinson was not in uniform - he had retired. And I was like, 'OK, I'm finally over Brooks being there.' Spring Training that year was very difficult for me - my wife miscarried on the first day. I didn't practice for four days after that, and when I finally did practice, the first ground ball I took at third took a bad hop and broke my nose! I went right to the hospital and had surgery, and then missed the next ten days to two weeks. In that process, the Orioles were looking for as much offense as possible, so they put Lee May and Eddie Murray in the starting lineup on Opening Day. Earl thought, 'Since Bobby Grich is gone, maybe I can move Doug to second and put Eddie at third. Look at the home runs!' He was counting them before the season even started! I came back and was getting myself physically well and Earl said, 'I want you to play second for me.' And I said, 'You've gotta be kidding! After every thing I've been through, now that Brooks is gone you're gonna put me at second?' He said, 'Look at the money you can make! You'll hit 25 more home runs playing second! And look what it'll do for the team!' So I said 'OK,' and I did it. Eddie may not have had an error on Opening Day, but he made some during the series. We lost all three games by a combined score of 48-6 or something - they hit a grand slam each day! We got to Kansas City and Earl said, 'I'm getting killed in the papers. I gotta switch this back.' So I went back to third."

Thanks Doug. See you in two. Richie