Walton and fellow rookie outfielder Dwight Smith were vital components in the Cubs’ surprising 1989 division title. Using an unusually wide open stance and pivoting at the pitch, he called to mind Brian Downing at the plate. In reality, though, the speedy Walton got his results with a line-drive stroke that produced little power. He won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1989 despite spending the middle of the season on the disabled list, batting .293, swiping 24 bases, and crafting a 30-game hitting streak.
Walton’s production slipped drastically over the next two seasons. He dropped to .261 with 14 stolen bases in 1990, and suffered a broken hand and right wrist injury that limited him to 101 games. And in 1991, he batted .219, stealing just seven bags. Spending a large part of 1992 in the minors, Walton hit a paltry .127 in limited major league duty. The Cubs tired of his regression and allowed him to sign with the Angels in the offseason. Walton didn’t make it through the season, however. Released on August 19, 1993, he signed with the Cincinnati Reds