Jerome Walton

1989 Bowman #295 Jerome Walton Front
A fine investment.

Why we like him: Walton was the 1989 National League Rookie of the Year. Seriously. It even prompted my dad to schedule a visit to a baseball card store to pretty much force me to purchase his rookie card. He won the award, in all honesty, just because there were really no other deserving candidates. Walton had a pretty good rookie year, sure (.293-5-46 with 24 steals), but the rest of the crop of NL rookies was pretty devoid of impressive stats. He beat out teammate Dwight Smith for the award who posted a better average (.324), more home runs (9), and more RBI (52), but he played in 7 fewer games and had over 130 fewer at-bats.

Walton lasted 10 major league seasons and was never terrible. Believe me, there were far worse options for a platoon player or pinch hitter out there. He even batted .340 for Atlanta in 1996 over 47 at-bats. He could definitely hit for average, but he never really hit for exceptional power, which was a problem for an outfielder looking for everyday work in the 'roided up '90s. He called it a career at 32.

Ladies and gentlemen, Jerome Walton, ballplayer.

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