I admit it. I’m a Yankee hater from way back. But I had to admire Louisiana Lightning, Ron Guidry. The Yankees lefty didn’t even stand 6 feet tall and weighed less than 165 pounds, yet threw the heck out of the ball. In 1978, he had a super year winning 25 games and dropping just three.
So it’s a Friday night in August, and I’m watching Guidry mowing down the Birds on my black and white TV. And I’m growing angrier by the moment. No he wasn’t no-hitting us as Ken Singleton reached him for a fourth inning single.
But we were losing despite a great effort from Mike Flanagan as Eddie Murray opened the seventh inning against this 15-game winner.
He bounced a simple grounder to Bucky Dent at short. I ran up and shut the stinking TV off. We were done.
The next morning, I spotted the newspaper. It said something like this, “Doug DeCinces hit a tremendous 430-foot homer as the Orioles beat the Yankees, 2-1.
Evidently, Dent booted the Murray grounder and then DeCinces unloaded on Guidry and belted a ball that might still be soaring. And my temper tantrum caused me to miss it.
Third sacker DeCinces loved to hit off Guidry. Evidently the left-hander’s pitches were just what he was looking for.
So of course I looked it up. DeCinces was only a .234 lifetime hitter in 64 lifetime at-bats against Guidry.
But a closer examination shows us other evidence. Of DeCinces’ 15 hits, a whopping 10 were of the extra base variety. That was the one homer I missed and four more dingers. Also five doubles. And don’t forget to add 10 free passes as if Guidry knew DeCinces had his number.
So further examination shows DeCinces clearly was a Guidry killer. But both brothers, Lance and Larry Parrish hit six career homers off of Guidry. Give Larry full credit as he hit those 6 homers in just 33 at-bats.
Only Angels catcher, Brian Downing, was able to match DeCinces in the bases on balls category.
Granted the Yankees ran away and hid in 1978 behind their 25-game winner. They won 100 games. The O’s won 90 games and all that did was put them in fourth place.
DeCinces had a very strong season that year. He ripped 37 doubles and hit 28 homers for the O’s.
Of course the O’s traded their best third baseman since Brooks Robinson to California in the winter of 1982. We did receive outfielder Disco Dan Ford in return.
And then in 82, he had a marvelous year for the Angels. But that didn’t matter in Baltimore as the Orioles had plenty of “great” third baseman to replace DeCinces like Todd Cruz, Fritz Connolly, Floyd Rayford, Ray Knight and Rene Gonzalez. For those who don’t recognize the names here, this is pure sarcasm.
Oh, we get it all right. The O’s blew it. What the heck did they trade DeCinces away for?