Opening Day, April 1, 2013 is 36 days away. There have been one hundred walk off home runs in Angels history. This is the story of #36, an extra-inning blast by one of the great Angels Third Basemen of all time.
April 16, 1982 - Bruce Kison and Darrell Jackson faced off in what turned out to be an amazing pitchers' duel. Jackson's only run came in the first inning. He tossed seven innings of three-hit ball. Kison walked six batters but only allowed two hits in 7.1 innings. Don Aase relieved him with two on and one out an allowed both of those runners to score. Suddenly it was the middle of the eighth inning and the Angels were down 2-1.
Future Angel Doug Corbett came on in the bottom of the ninth for the Twins. Fred Lynn drove in Rod Carew to tie the game and into extras Don Aase had a scoreless top of the tenth and Corbett came back out for the bottom of the inning. He gave up a single amidst two outs and faced Doug DeCinces with a man on 1B. The Angels 3B launched a rocket into the Anaheim night and the Friday evening crowd of 24,000+ saw an extra inning, tie-breaking walk off two-run home run. Doug DeCinces won the weak-batted pitching night with blast. Final Score: Angels 4, Twins 2.
One of the greatest trades in the history of the franchise was acquiring 3B Doug DeCinces from the Orioles in exchange for outfielder Dan Ford prior to the 1982 season. The move paid off with a great year - DeCinces put up 7.2 WAR in his first campaign as an Angel, the seventh-greatest season by an Angels non-pitcher using the Wins Above Replacement measurement. His 17 WAR as an Angel ranks 10th among position players. He hit 130 Home Runs as an Angel, good for ninth all time in the club record books.
He ranks second all time in games at 3B for the team - 747 games saw DeCinces man the hot corner. The only player with more was Troy Glaus with 778. Glaus was dating DeCinces' daughter when he was drafted by the Angels and Doug acted as his agent for the negotiation and signing. Talk about passing the torch!