Monday, September 5, 2016

A Venerable Old Card Part 27

1989 was a good summer to be a Cubs fan.  The team led by Don Zimmer ended a four year run of alternating Mets and Cardinals division crowns which started in 1985 when both teams won over 100 games.  The Cubs had won the division in 1984, come within a game of the World Series, but missed out.  The Cubs took a few years to rebuild jettisoning players like Dennis Eckersley, Steve Trout, Leon Durham, Gary Matthews, and Ron Cey.

The team kept Ryne Sandberg through it all, added 1987 NL MVP Andre Dawson from the Expos, and added a good core of homegrown young players.  Daytime watchers of Cubs games on WGN were treated to the stylings of Mark Grace, Jerome Walton, Dwight Smith, Joe Girardi, Mitch Williams, and Greg Maddux.  

The Cubs won 93 games that summer leaving the Mets 6 games behind and the Cardinals 7 games behind.  The team ran into the Giants in the National League Championship Series and promptly lost 4 games to 1, but the future seemed bright for the Cubs.  

One of the brighter young stars on the 1989 Cubs was NL Rookie of the Year Winner Jerome Walton.  Amongst kids in middle school who collected baseball cards he was awesome, second on the food chain behind the Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck card.  

My favorite Jerome Walton card was his 1989 Topps Traded card.  Most of the summer was spent in search of his Fleer card, but that was left in the dust once the traded set came out later in the year.  I have a few of these cards in my collection.  The 6th grade version of me was stock piling them for whatever reason.  

I still love this card.  The 1989 Topps set is absolutely worthless and can be bought in bulk for next to nothing, but I still flip through these a few times a year.  Topps used this design a year or two ago for the mini insert set in the packs of base cards.  I was a little peeved that they cut off the white border, but I still collected them.  

I am curious what this card actually sold for in hobby stores back in 1989.  As a middle school kid, my valuation of the card was something like this: No I won't trade Will Clark, Bo Jackson, or Jose Canseco for Jerome Walton, but I would give you a Bobby Bonilla or Wally Joyner.  Don't knock late 1980s Wally Joyner.  

I spent a few minutes actually looking up what Jerome Walton did to win the Rookie of the Year Award in 1989.  Why didn't Dwight Smith win the award that year?  Clearly not really into looking too much into the stats back then.....

Plus, Dwight Smith sung the National Anthem a few times before Cubs games.  Greg Harris looks like a pretty solid choice too and Andy Benes only played two months and his WAR wasn't far behind Jerome's.  Perhaps all of the middle school kids in St Louis County should have been all over this card instead....


  1. Ah - those '89 Cubs had all of the youth and promise that today's team has... I'm hoping the youth movement turns out better this time around!

    1. I think Bryant, Rizzo, and company might be just a little better than Jerome Walton and Dwight Smith. Just a hunch.