Who could ever forget Karl “Tuffy” Rhodes electrifying a capacity Opening Day crowd at Wrigley Field in 1994 with three consecutive home runs off Dwight Gooden?
Apparently, not the Cubs’ front office.
In hopes of again catching lightning in a bottle, GM Jim Hendry signed the now 41-year-old outfielder to a lucrative one-day-only contract after learning of Rhodes’ recent release from the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. Rhodes was ecstatic to hear the news.
“At one point, I was on pace for 486 in one season,” said Rhodes, who would hit only eight more MLB round-trippers. “In Japan, they call me the Good Fukudome.”
Skipper Lou Piniella was a bit confused about the signing, but eager to insert his new acquisition into the lineup.
“I thought he was Dusty Rhodes, the big fat old wrestler,” asked Piniella. “Either way he’s got to be better than the real Fukudome, so we’ll stick him in right field and take our chances.”
From the March 2010 issue by Jeremy Barewin. Click here to subscribe today!