DeCinces' follow-through leaves him in good position


June 30, 1994|By Arthur Hirsch | Arthur Hirsch,Sun Staff Writer

First, there was Life After Brooks; then, Life After Baseball. Doug DeCinces has managed some difficult life transitions.

As DeCinces recalls, it was tougher succeeding Brooks Robinson as Orioles third baseman, a feat described as an "impossible task" in The Ballplayers, an encyclopedia of baseball biographies. Inevitably there were comparisons; inevitably DeCinces could not win.

"I went through some tough times replacing Brooks Robinson," says DeCinces, 43, who lives in Newport Beach, Calif. He heard boos occasionally when he was announced, got some nasty mail and faced many newspaper stories questioning whether he was up to the job.

DeCinces eased into the position, playing his first full season at third in 1977. That was his fifth year in Baltimore, Robinson's last.

After nine seasons in Baltimore, including the American League championship year 1979, DeCinces was traded to the California Angels in January 1982. He played most of six seasons there and ended his major-league career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1987, still troubled by the back spasms that first put him on the disabled list in 1979. After a season with the Yakult Swallows in the Japanese Central League in 1988, DeCinces retired from baseball.

He says it was not so tough to shift from the world of professional sports to real estate management and construction, the field in which he now works. He had worked with his father in DeCinces Properties during the off-seasons and returned to a full-time job when his baseball career ended. He now is president of the real estate management and development company dealing chiefly in commercial property.

DeCinces also works as a consultant in a couple of baseball-related business ventures. He has been acting as a negotiator for a Delaware bank seeking to market credit cards in major-league cities by putting the team name on the cards. DeCinces also has been working with Major League Baseball and corporate sponsors on a "Pitch, Hit and Run" competition for 9-to-13-year-olds.

DeCinces has said he believes he was traded by the Orioles because of his role as a players' representative in the 1981 strike. The move by Edward Bennett Williams did not sour him on Baltimore, he says.

"I come back a couple times a year," DeCinces says. "My wife and I have a great feeling about Baltimore."

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