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Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Hugh Walker reminded Royals scouts of Bo, missed majors

Hugh Walker 1990 Baseball City Royals card

The Royals selected high schooler Hugh Walker 18th overall in the 1988 draft and the team couldn't have been happier, Royals director of scouting Art Stewart told The Kansas City Times.

"He reminds all of our scouts so much of Bo Jackson in high school," Royals director of scouting Art Stewart told The Times. "We couldn't be more thrilled."

Walker, however, never could live up to that comparison, or the hopes that came with his draft position. He saw a decade in the pros, but he only briefly made AAA.

Walker did, like Jackson, end up playing a second sport beyond high school along with baseball. Toward the end of his baseball career, he went back to college and made the school's football team.

Walker's career began that year in 1988, taken by the Royals 18th overall out of Jacksonville High School in Arkansas.

Days after the Royals selected him in the first round of the 1988 draft, Hugh Walker found himself in Kansas City, practicing with the major leaguers, The Kansas City Times wrote.

"It's not dawning on me yet," Walker told The Times then. "I'm just living in a fantasy world, a dream."

Walker started with the Royals in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He saw 63 games, hit .240 and stole 27 bases. He moved to single-A Appleton for 1989 and hit .256 in 103 games.

Walker played 1990 largely at high-A Baseball City, but also got a one-game look at AAA Omaha.

He then played 1991 completely at AA Memphis. He also ran into a poor start. He hit a two-run home run in an August game as he tried to work his way back.

"Everything was together on that swing," his manager Jeff Cox told The Memphis Commercial-Appeal afterward of the home run. "What we're looking for is consistency. Occasionally he'll show flashes of the ability to drive balls. This is the time of the season for Hugh Walker to make something happen."

Walker then split 1992 between Baseball City and Memphis, played 1993 at high-A Wilmington and 1994 back at Memphis.

He moved to independent ball with Mohawk Valley in 1995 and last played for independent Bangor in 1997.

In 1996, The Wilmington News Journal caught up with Walker that fall, as he played football at Arkansas Tech. Walker was there with college money provided by the Royals in his first contract.

His playing career over, Walker soon turned scout, working with the Giants in 2008.

Hugh Walker 1990 Baseball City Royals card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,290
Made the Majors:1,392-32.5%
Never Made Majors:2,898-67.5%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:567
10+ Seasons in the Minors:349-X

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