Mark Bellhorn, whom the Cubs got from the A's last November in a trade for infield prospect Adam Morrissey, wasn't supposed to be Chicago's biggest off-season acquisition. Bellhorn had a career .198 average and just seven home runs in parts of four seasons with Oakland, and he made the Cubs' roster in spring training as little more than a bit player. But when prized prospect Bobby Hill flopped in a midseason trial at second base, the 28-year-old Bellhorn took over the everyday job and never let go.
Batting mostly in the leadoff spot, he had hit 27 homers through Sunday, third most on the team behind Sammy Sosa and Fred McGriff. Against the Brewers on Aug. 29, Bellhorn, a switch-hitter, became the first NL player to homer from both sides of the plate in one inning. He'd also been solid defensively (II errors) and had started at all four infield positions.