The Chicago Cubs All-Time rookie team

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Former CChicago Cubs first baseman Mark Grace – Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

First Baseman: Markl Grace (1988)

Mark Grace was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1985.  He would spend much of the next three seasons in the minor leagues honing his craft and getting ready for his call-up to the big leagues. Leon Durham was the Opening Day starter for the Cubs in 1988, but he would struggle right out of the gate.

Considering how well Grace was playing – it wasn’t long before the Cubs’ management had no choice but to make a move.  He would become the full-time starter at first within the first month of the season.  Durham would eventually be traded to the Reds.

Grace would have a great rookie season with the Cubs, showing great plate discipline and finding ways to get on base.  His glove wasn’t quite what he wanted it to be – committing an NL leading 17 errors.

That that wouldn’t stop him from working on his craft and would win four Gold Gloves before his career as over. He would finish the season with an impressive stat line of a .296 average, seven homers, 57 runs batted in, and 23 doubles.

He would finish second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting – losing out to All-Star third baseman Chris Sabo of the Cincinnati Reds.  It would be the first of 13 fantastic years as the first baseman for the Chicago Cubs.

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