Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant is the Cubs’ greatest rookie
Oct 10, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Cubs fans hold up a W flag after game two of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Walton, 1989
.293 AVG/.335 OBP/.385 SLG
Man, the 1989 Cubs were an exciting team. They had just the right balance of youth and veterans (sound familiar?). This team appeared destined for sustained success with young players like Mark Grace to go with prime time veterans like Ryne Sandberg, Greg Maddux, and Andre Dawson.
They won the National League East division. And despite losing in the National League Championship Series, fans looked excitedly towards 1990–especially after seeing teammates Dwight Smith and Jerome Walton come in at No. 2 and No. 1 in the ROY voting, respectively.
Walton took home the award largely in part to a hot July and August which saw him hit safely in 30 consecutive games–a rookie record. (Sadly, I was in attendance on the August 21 game against the Reds when the streak ended.)
He provided a great spark at the top of the line-up for the Cubs that year while hitting for average and stealing 24 bases.
The 1989 season would go down as Walton’s best. He missed quite a bit of playing time in 1990 and never seemed to find the same stroke he had as a rookie.
The Cubs didn’t re-sign him after the 1992 season. He bounced around the majors for several years, making his final stop in Tampa Bay in 1998.