The slick-fielding Dominican shortstop was stuck behind Ozzie Smith in the Cardinal system when he decided to change his name, saying that there were too many other Gonzalezes. Traded to the Giants for 1985 in the Jack Clark deal, he immediately became their regular shortstop. He hit a career-high .291 in 1987 after spending the winter practicing hitting by having his brother pitch peanuts to him. However, a nagging hamstring problem put him on the DL three times before the All-Star break.
In 1989, Uribe led all National League shortstops in double plays with 85, and ranked second in assists (437) and total chances. However, his bat left him that year, as he batted a mere .221 in 151 games. After another lackluster campaign in 1990, Uribe was demoted to part-time duty.