The trade of OF Dave Martinez to Montreal the previous July left the Cubs without a true center fielder heading into spring training in 1989.
It didn’t take long for the dynamic speed of young prospect Jerome Walton to emerge from the competition. Walton’s terrific outfield range quickly caught the eye of Cubs manager, Don Zimmer, who settled on Walton as his Opening Day center fielder.
Despite committing an error on the first ball hit to him on Opening Day, Walton proved Zimmer’s decision wise over the long haul.
It was 46 games later before Walton made his second defensive miscue, and he booted just one more throughout his final 69 regular season games played.
The regularity at which Walton showed flashes of brilliance in center field made him of Gold Glove consideration.
Had it not been for a mid season injury that limited his season to 116 games, Walton may have earned more hardware than his Rookie of the Year Award.
*Throughout spring training I’ll recap Walton’s 30-game hitting streak that sparked the Cubs from a 2.5 games deficit in the division to a 2.5 game lead!
|6||July 26||1-4||@ St. Louis||J. DeLeon||Single 2B||L 0-2|
|7||July 28||1-3||New York||D. Cone||Single to LF||W 6-5|
|8||July 29||3-5||New York||W. Whitehurst||Single to CF||W 10-3|
|J. Innis||Bunt single|
|J. Innis||Single to RF|
|9||July 30||3-5||New York||B. Ojeda||Single to LF||W 6-4|
|B. Ojeda||Single to LF|
|R. Aguilera||Single to 2B|
||1-5||@ Philly||T. Mulholland||Single to RF, RBI||W 10-2|