DeCinces had the impossible task of replacing Brooks Robinson
at third base for the
Orioles. Actually, his talents were similar to Robinson's. Slow afoot, DeCinces gained
a reputation for good hands and as a clutch hitter. Battling back problems throughout
his career, he became expendable with the arrival of Cal Ripken, Jr.
, who started
his career at third base. Dealt to the Angels for 1982, DeCinces responded with his
best season, reaching career highs with 30 HR, 97 RBI, and a .301 average. He hit
.316 in the LCS and won regard as the AL's best all-around third baseman. He averaged
over 21 HR a season during his California career, which ended in late September of
1987 when he was traded to the Cardinals to make room for Jack Howell
. DeCinces played
only four games for St. Louis, which won the NL pennant, and went to Japan after
being released following the season.