#RememberThatCub: Mark Grace
The Chicago Cubs have a very good history of first baseman, and this edition features another all-time top player. Mark Grace is not only one of the best first baseman in Cubs history but one of the best pure hitters in their history.
The left-handed Grace with his smooth swing produced 2,201 hits in 13 years in Northside blue from 1988–2000. He is 5th in hits on the all time Cub hit list and had the distinct honor of having the most hits by any player in the 90s. From 1990–1999 Grace knocked 1,754 hits which was seven above the person with the second most hits (Rafael Palmeiro); Grace also lead in doubles during that decade with 364.
His Cubs career slash-line read as follows: .308 (AVG)/.386 (OBP)/.832 (OPS). He slapped a lot of extra base hits, but he was not known for being a big power hitter. He averaged 11 home runs a year in his 13 Cub years and his overall career high was 17 in 1998, he hit 148 total as a northsider. Other honors he boasted were four gold gloves (92', 93', 95', 96') and three all star games (93', 95', 97'). Though he never finished first, he was top 10 in league batting average eight times.
Grace was only part of a few winning teams with the Cubs. In 1989 they won the division title under Don Zimmer but lost in the NLCS to the Giants 4–1. Despite the loss, Grace batted .647 with a 1.799 OPS in five NLCS games and put on a show in game 2 at Wrigley Field (their only win). He was also part of the 1998 wild card winning Cubs, but only batted .083 in a sweep to the hands of the Braves.
After 13 years, Mark Grace left Chicago at the age of 37 and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks on December 8th, 2000. He won his first and only World Series ring in 2001 with Arizona. Grace played two more years with Arizona and called it quits after 2003, finishing his career with a .303 AVG, a .383 OBP and 2,445 hits.
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Alex Patt is a contributor for Wrigley Rapport and you can follow him on twitter @chifanpatt1