When the Orioles traded shortstop Luis Aparicio after the 1967 season, they replaced him with his roommate, Belanger. The slender “Blade” didn’t relinquish the position until 1982. An eight-time Gold Glove winner, he played in 43 postseason games during a decade of strong Baltimore teams and holds several ALCS defensive records for shortstops. Seldom spectacular, Belanger rarely fielded a ball one-handed or sidearmed a throw, but he moved around short with sure-handed ease and grace. Although an unimpressive hitter, he had the distinction of swatting a home run in the first ALCS game played, versus Minnesota (10/4/69). That year was his best offensively, as he hit .287 with 50 RBI.
Granted free agency after 1981, Belanger signed with the Dodgers for his final season. A longtime player representative with Baltimore, he became a special assistant with the Major League Baseball Players Association after retiring as a player.