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The 40 Greatest Orioles of All-Time - No. 16 - Doug DeCinces

16. Doug DeCinces, 3B (1973-1981)

Doug DeCinces was drafted in the third round in 1970 by the Orioles, and took over third base in 1976, when he was 25 years old, replacing the immortal Brooks Robinson. No easy task to be sure, but DeCinces did a great job succeeding a Hall of Famer. And at times in his career (as shown), he had an incredible moustache.

DeCinces was not a great athlete so much, a lot like Brooks wasn't really a great athlete. Neither were quick, but both had great hands and could hit enough to carry their share in the lineup. While Brooks Robinson is simply Brooks Robinson at third base, Doug DeCinces was a really good defensive third baseman in his own right. Over 440 at-bats that first season as a regular, DeCinces hit a light .234/.284/.357 with 11 homers, but the next year he got right about on line with what would be his career averages (.259/.329/.445), as he hit .259/.339/.433 in '77 with 19 homers and 69 RBI.

1978 was DeCinces' breakout season and arguably the best season ever by an Orioles third baseman. He hit .286/.346/.526 (adjusted OPS+ of 149) and had a superb defensive season. The fact that DeCinces got no accolades -- no All-Star appearance, no Gold Glove, no MVP votes -- for that season doesn't make it any less excellent than it was.

During his Oriole stay, DeCinces never quite got back to that season. He had some injuries in '79 and regressed to .230/.318/.412 with 16 homers, and had about the same line in 1980. In the strike shortened '81 season, he hit .263/.341/.454 with 13 homers and 55 RBI over 100 games. The Orioles then traded DeCinces and Jeff Schneider to the California Angels for Disco Dan Ford. Ford had had a nice season for the Angels in '79, but did almost nothing with the Orioles. DeCinces, on the other hand, continued to produce for the Angels. It was a bad trade for the Orioles no matter how you look at it, and no matter if you consider that even without DeCinces, the Orioles won the World Series in 1983 anyway, and even if you consider that he was traded because of Cal Ripken Jr., who started out as a third baseman.

DeCinces played out his career with the Angels until he was traded to St. Louis in 1987. He re-signed with them as a free agent on September 29, 1987, and was released on October 7 of the same year. He apparently went to Japan afterward, but I can't find any stats for him.

See also: Halos Heaven: The 100 Greatest Angels: No. 18, Doug DeCinces.