Chris Sabo is taking nothing for granted.

The Cincinnati Reds' third baseman completed an improbable major-league arrival Tuesday by receiving National League Rookie of the Year honors. The award, voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America, topped a season in which he went from unknown backup infielder to All-Star to local hero because of his gritty style of play.

The only thing he didn't do was convince himself he's an entrenched major leaguer.

"I don't feel secure at all," he said Tuesday. "I've always felt that way. As far as I'm concerned, I've got to win a job in '89 like I did this year.

"My dad always said, as long as you produce, you'll be wanted. When you stop producing, you're gone."

He produced well enough at the season's start to make veteran Buddy Bell expendable, earn a backup spot on the NL All-Star team, and win recognition as the Jackie Robinson NL Rookie of the Year despite a poor second half.

Sabo, 26, received 79 points and 11 first-place votes from a panel of 24 writers, two from each NL city. First baseman Mark Grace of the Chicago Cubs was second with 61 points, followed by right-hander Tim Belcher of the Los Angeles Dodgers with 35.

Ron Gant of Atlanta had 22 points and Roberto Alomar of San Diego had 11. Damon Berryhill of the Cubs and Greg Jefferies of the New York Mets each had three points, and Ricky Jordan of the Philadelphia Phillies had two.

Sabo was an improbable rookie star. He rose through the Reds' farm system in five years by establishing a reputation as a good fielder with above-average speed and hitting ability. Still, there was nothing spectacular about him.

He came to the Reds' training camp last spring with a shot at a backup infield job. When Bell sprained his knee for the second time in spring training, Sabo got his chance.

He started at third base on Opening Day, played well early, then returned to the bench when Bell returned. Bell then reinjured the knee, and Sabo wouldn't sit again.

He hit .312 through the All-Star Game with 32 doubles and 10 homers. He was the only rookie in the All-Star Game, stealing a base before a Riverfront Stadium crowd that chanted his name.

By that time, Sabo had become a local hero in the mold of manager Pete Rose. Little leaguers were wearing goggles like Sabo. Crowds chanted his name whenever he came to bat.

The adulation stunned him.

"It was very much a surprise that everyone liked me," he said Tuesday. "It was great. They liked me for how I am. How I am is how I am. I play the way I was taught to play."

It's the same way Rose played--all-out, all the time.

"He reminds me of myself," Rose said.

His second half was less stunning. He said he tired in early August, and was slowed by a variety of injuries from his hard-nosed playing style. He batted just .216 in the second half with eight doubles and one homer. Overall, he batted .271 for the season with 40 doubles --, stole 46 bases, the most by a Reds' rookie since Bob Bescher's 54 in 1909, and led all NL third basemen with a .966 fielding percentage.

He's the sixth Cincinnati player to win the award. The last was pitcher Pat Zachry, who tied Butch Metzger of the Padres in 1976 for the honor.

Sabo said he's working out six to seven hours a day to build his body so it can withstand the rigors of a season.

"If I don't play good next year, it's not going to be because I didn't work hard enough."

The second annual roundup, in which local horse riders assisted state parks officials in branding the herd, was more difficult than the first, perhaps because the bison were made more wary by memories of last year's activities.At one point Saturday, two calves that got separated from their mother ran into the Great Salt Lake and had to be lassoed and pulled back to shore. The one which swam further out had to be pulled back by helicopter and died during the ordeal.

"It's sad it died, but if the helicopter hadn't tried, she'd have swum farther and farther," said Gary Percival, a Farmington rider who helped pull both calves to shore.

Last year, the roundup was conducted with 60 horse riders, a few helicopters and many trucks and four-wheel-drive vehicles. The crew was smaller this year and included two helicopters, about 30 riders and approximately 20 vehicles that tried to steer fleeing buffaloes back to the larger herd.

"This business of watching them peeling off in twos and threes and watching them go is making it rough," said Steven Fielding, a park ranger and driver of one of the pickup trucks.

"Last year it was easy. They came over the hill and we herded them down and right into the corral," he said as he steered the truck down a bumpy hill toward the beach.

Jay Christianson, director of the northern region of the State Division of Parks and Recreation, said the bison were "ruder" this year.

By lunch, three-fourths of the herd had been corralled and the remaining animals were gathered in the afternoon.

No buffaloes will be taken off the island this year to sell, Fielding said. Almost 100 were sold last year.

"They're going to let the herd go to 1,000," Miller said. About 500 are on the island now, he said.

However, 10 hunting permits have been issued for a hunt that begins Nov. 26 and lasts two weeks. Five hunters will be taken each week to the island by Western Rivers Expeditions, said Fran Craigle, division spokesman.

A hunter can obtain a permit only once in a lifetime, she said.