Opening Day memories: Tuffy Rhodes takes Doc Gooden deep three times, Cubs still lose

With Opening Day 2020 postponed due to the fact that of the coronavirus pandemic, Sporting News staffers look back at their most unforgettable Opening Days from the past.

I understood of Tuffy Rhodes heading into Opening Day 1994, which is to state I kept in mind opening baseball cards with his image on them. I understood he ‘d been a novice with the Astros.

His cards all had his provided name, Karl, if I keep in mind properly, and they were submitted away in the long, white 660- count cardboard boxes I utilized to house the additionals of my collection, not in the plastic cases or protective sleeves scheduled for the “these are worth something”cards

It didn’t take long after Opening Day 1994, however, for me to go diving back into those boxes to take out as numerous Tuffys as I might discover.

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April 4, 1994, was the day Karl Rhodes engraved his name into baseball tradition, and on April 5, I wasn’t the just one arranging through cardboard boxes full of baseball cards to discover the person calledTuffy Rhodes hit three home runs that day, all three off DwightGooden

If you wish to enjoy the whole game on your own — it was among “those” afternoons at Wrigley, and the Mets ended up winning 12 -8 — MLB Network is revealing the game beginning at midnight ET as part of its baseball marathon. It’s excellent things.

“We made him a legend today,” Mets manager Dallas Green informed press reporters after thegame

That they did. Well, Gooden did. Rhodes ended up being the first gamer in MLB history to strike three successive homers to start a season, and he likewise ended up being the first gamer ever to strike three homers in a game offGooden

It would have been a fantastic accomplishment from anybody because day’s lineup, that included Ryne Sandberg and Sammy Sosa, however from Rhodes– who had all of 5 profession MLB homers heading into the game– it was downright spectacular. A little background: Rhodes increased through the Houston organization primarily as a stolen-base danger– in his Age 19 season in Class A, he took 65 bases and strike simply one homer– however he could not get on base routinely in the big leagues, publishing a.219 average and.302 on-base portion.

He was released in late April 1993 and signed with the Royals a couple of days later on. He played well for Kansas City’s Triple-A club–.318 average, 23 homers, 10 taken bases in 88 games– however never ever made the majors with the Royals. He was traded to the Cubs right prior to the July 31 trade due date, as part of a three-team offer that landed Paul Assenmacher with the Yankees and John Habyan with the Royals.

He played well for Triple-A Iowa–.320, 1. When the Cubs called him up to end the 1993 season,015 OPS– and hit three homers and took 2 bases. That caused the Opening Day nod in 1994 as the Cubs’ leadoff player.

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In his first at-bat, leading off the bottom of the first, Rhodes worked the count full and smacked Gooden’s 6th pitch over the wall in center field.

In the 3rd inning, Rhodes struck a 3-1 pitch over the wall in left, an opposite-field shot. And in the 5th inning, Rhodes transferred a 1-0 pitch into the bleachers in left-center.

“After the first home run, I was geeked. You know, geeked. That’s slang for excited,” he informed press reporters, according to the Chicago Tribune.

” After the second one, I was a little more calm. I never ever believed I might strike 2 homers in agame When I struck the 3rd one, I was scared.”

The Tribune does not state why he was scared, so I can’t assist you respond to that concern.

Rhodes struck just 5 more homers in his final 94 games that season, and he ran out the majors by the end of the 1996 season. He wasn’t finished with baseball, however. When he moved throughout the Pacific Ocean to play baseball in Japan,

Rhodes experienced one of the excellent profession revivals. Rhodes hit 464 homers in his 13 seasons in Japan, popping 40 or more 7 times and topping 50 two times.

Perhaps we shoulda seen that coming.

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