After the events of 20 years ago today, we should have known it was going to be that kind of year. 12 straight home losses to start the season, Ryne Sandberg’s sudden retirement, a season shortened by the strike – we should have known these things were coming after Opening Day.
20 years ago today, Cubs center fielder Tuffy Rhodes hit three home runs (solo, of course) off the Mets Doc Gooden in his first three at-bats of the season. The Cubs lost 12-8 (of course).
First Lady Hillary Clinton was on hand to throw out the first pitch, gold medalist Bonnie Blair was in attendance, but Tuffy stole the show. For the record, he hit a 3-2 pitch out to lead off the bottom of the 1st for the Cubs. In the third with two outs and a 3-1 count, he hit home run number two. Rhodes led off the 5th for the Cubs and drilled an 0-1 pitch for his third homer. Talk about starting off with a bang.
With the jet stream still cruising out, Rhodes had two more chances to become the only Cub to hit four homers in a game. In the 6th, Rhodes walked on four pitches to load the bases. In the 9th, he singled to make it a 4-for-4 day. (In JD’s world, he was hitting 4.000.)
Rhodes had only five more homers the rest of the year, lost his starting job in mid-season and was out of the majors after 1995. However, he made the move to Japan and flourished, becoming the all-time home run leader among foreign players and tying the Japan single season record with 55 homers in 2001.
Tuffy was in the news last week and it’s nice to see he still has good hands. http://deadspin.com/tuffy-rhodes-catches-olajuwon-signed-ball-gives-it-to-1553840023