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Cubs fan: Remembering the Tuffy Rhodes opening day game of 1994
As a diehard Chicago Cubs fan, opening day is the greatest day of the year. The Cubs are undefeated and tied for first place! Hope springs eternal in the hearts of Cubs fans when spring overtakes winter.
And one opening day game lived up to the hype more than any other.
In 1984, Dwight Gooden burst onto the National League scene with an incredible rookie season. But when he faced the Cubs on opening day at Wrigley Field, Chicago gave him a rude initiation into Major League Baseball. In 3.1 innings, Gooden gave up seven hits, three walks and six runs.
After he departed, Gary Matthews, Jody Davis and Ron Cey each homered.
By the time the shellacking was done, the 1984 NL East champions defeated the Mets 11-2. However, this was not the last time the Cubs roughed up Dwight Gooden on opening day at Wrigley Field. In fact, 10 years later, the Chicago Cubs played an even more memorable opening day game against Dwight Gooden.
Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes
Tuffy Rhodes is one of the most famous players in Chicago Cubs history who actually accomplished very little. Rhodes' entire Cubs career consisted of 337 at-bats, 11 home runs and a .237 average. But if you ask any Cubs fan who Tuffy Rhodes is, chances are good that one single moment will come to mind.
That would be opening day in 1994.
On the 10-year anniversary of his first game against the Chicago Cubs, Dwight Gooden took the mound once again at Wrigley Field on opening day. By 1994, much of the luster had worn off of Dwight Gooden. But he was still the Mets' opening day starter and one of the top MLB pitchers. Ironically, his celebrity helped make Tuffy Rhodes famous.
To paraphrase Lee Elia, I am part of the 85 percent of the world that is working. So I missed this memorable game. But Tuffy Rhodes will forever have a prominent place in Chicago Cubs folklore for hitting three home runs off of Dwight Gooden. Batting in the leadoff spot, Rhodes hit solo blasts in the first, third and fifth innings. Dwight Gooden was pulled after 5.2 innings, having given up seven runs.
What many fans may have forgotten about this game is that the Chicago Cubs actually lost! Somehow, this seems apropos. Not only that, but Dwight Gooden managed to pick up the win.
Still, Cubs fans try to focus on the positive memories (since there are so few). Tuffy Rhodes went 4-4 and even reached base on a walk.
Opening day on April 4, 1994, will forever be remembered as the "Tuffy Rhodes Game." Hopefully, opening day of 2011 will supply Chicago Cubs' fans with more great memories.
And a win!
"Mets 2 at Cubs 11," baseball-reference.com
"Mets 12 at Cubs 8," baseball-reference.com
"Tuffy Rhodes," baseball-reference.com
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