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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Greg Walker, Warm Ups - 318

Warming up before a game against the Angels Greg Walker caught the ball, but his attention was instantly drawn elsewhere.

There was something wrong with his hip. Quickly, his right leg was numb.

His first reaction that day, July 30, 1988, was that he'd had a heart attack. What it was, was a seizure the threatened his life, the first of two.

"A lot worse things happen to people," Walker told reporters a month after the incident, according to a wire account. "I feel lucky to be here."

It was the most serious of a series of problems for the White Sox everyday first basemen. He had broke his wrist in 1986, underwent surgeries in 1989 and 1990, according to The Los Angeles Times, and he'd had a bad shoulder since high school.

Then there were the seizures, determined to be caused by a viral infection, according to media accounts, an infection that was controlled through medication.

"I've had a lot of things go wrong," Walker told The Times in 1991. "I've had a lot of things go right, too."

Walker was originally taken by the Phillies in the 20th round of the 1977 draft. He was picked up by Chicago two years later. He made AA Glens Falls in 1981 and AAA Edmonton and then the majors in 1982.

By 1983, he was in Chicago to stay. The everyday first baseman hit 24 home runs in each of 1984 and 1985. He hit another 27 in 1987, batting .256. In 1988, Walker's production slowed, hitting eight home runs and hitting just .247.

The seizures kept him out until 1989. With the surgery, he played in only 77 games and hit .210. Two early games with Chicago in 1990 and the White Sox gave him his release, though he would return later in a different capacity.

Picked up by Baltimore, Walker went to AAA Rochester. Called back up to Baltimore in June, Walker played his final major league game July 1. He spoke to The Times in 1991 as he tried to make the Angels squad, an attempt that was ultimately unsuccessful.

Returning to the White Sox organization in 2002 as hitting coach for AAA Charlotte, Walker became the big club's hitting coach the next year. It is a job he continues to hold today.
1990 CMC Tally
Cards Reviewed:
115/880 - 13.1%
Made the Majors: 74 - 64%
Never Made the Majors: 41 - 36%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 30
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 42

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