Our "Random Retro Cubs" series is back. This time we take a look at the Cubs' "other", but arguably better, rookie from 1989, Dwight Smith.
Years Played: 1989-1996.
Teams Played For: Chicago Cubs(1989-1993), California Angels (1994), Baltimore Orioles (1994), Atlanta Braves (1995-1996)
Positions: Left Field (238 games) Right Field (173 games), Center Field (98 games.) He was also used heavily as a lefty pinch hitting specialist throughout his career, espcially with the Braves in 95 and 96.
Career Line: .275 AVG, 244 R, 497 H, 46 HR, 226 RBI, 42 SB, .333 OBP, .422 SLG, .755 OPS.
Best Cubs Season: 1989 - .324 AVG, 52 R, 111 H, 9 HR, 52 RBI, 9 SB, 31 BB, 51 K, .382 OBP, .493 SLG, .875 OPS.
Awards/Leaderboard: 2nd in 'Rookie of the Year' voting in 1989.
Fun Facts: Dwight Smith burst on to the scene in 1989, hitting .375 over the first few months of the season. He finished the season hitting .324 which would have been 3rd highest in the league, if he had a few more ABs and qualified.
Dwight attended Spartanburg Methodist College, a small junior college in South Carolina, which has produced a slew of major league talent, including, Reggie Sanders, Orlando Hudson and Mookie Wilson.
Dwight loves to sing and is very good at it. He sang the National Anthem several times before games at Wrigley field. The first Cubs player in history to do so. He also sang the Anthem before a World Series game in 1995 in Atlanta.
My Take: Dwight's rookie year in 1989 is really the first year I can say I was a real true die hard Cubs fan. I was just a young kid and had been watching the Cubs on WGN ever since my parents got cable in 1987, but 1989 is when I really started watching a ton of games and rooting hard for them.
That summer I was watching the Cubs play the Mets, with my friend Sam, who was a Mets fan. Dwight hit his first career home run in a Cubs win and then hit his 2nd career home run the next day in another Cubs win. I instantly became a huge Dwight Smith fan, telling my friend how good he was and how he had beat the Mets two days in a row. I started collecting Dwight Smith cards and have a bunch of them still to this day. The rest of that season, I got excited every time he came up, he became my 2nd favorite Cub, only to Ryne Sandberg.
As the year went on Jerome Walton got more and more attention, with his speed and hitting streak and Dwight kinda flew under the radar. I hoped he would win rookie of the year but he finished 2nd to his teammate Walton, despite much better numbers.
Dwight had a few mediocre seasons after that before one more very good one in 1993. Even when he was struggling he was always one of my favorites though. Jerome Walton may be in the history books as that season's rookie of the year, but Dwight Smith will always be my favorite Cubs 1989 rookie.
Link To Dwight Smith's Baseball-Reference Page
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