Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuffy

Leaf 1994 Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes. This is one of two cards that calls him Tuffy instead of Karl. The picture was taken in the spring of 1994 (the newer version of the Cub patch is the give-away, it was new in 1994). It must have been a pretty cold day. The fans are bundled up and there are lots of empty seats.





Congratulations to Tuffy Rhodes, who recently hit his 450th home run in the Japanese league, becoming their 12th player to top that mark.

Tuffy also hit 13 major league home runs, and 11 of those were with the Cubs. The highlight of his time on the north side was opening day, 1994. Tuffy won the center field job in spring training and was going to be the Cubs leadoff man. The Cubs faced Doc Gooden and the Mets in the opener and Tuffy hit a home run off of Gooden in each of his first three at bats. He is the first player in history to hit three home runs on opening day. Talk about a great way to start the season! Of course, the Cubs being the Cubs, despite Tuffy's three home runs still lost the game 12-8. He only hit .234 for the season and when he got off to a .125 start the next season he was released.

He is the top foreign-born home run hitter in the Japanese League, but for one day in 1994 he was the top home run hitter in the National League.

Bowman 1994


Donruss 1995, the other Tuffy card


Fleer 1995


Pacific 1995


Pinnacle 1994, getting a face full of dirt


Score 1995


The back of the card mentions his opening day feat


Stadium Club 1995, look out for the inside pitch!


Topps 1994


Upper Deck 1994


Fleer Ultra 1994

3 comments:

  1. I remember my boss took Rhodes in an office Home Run Pool based on that big Opening Day. That didn't work out too well for him.

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  2. I'm genuinely surprised - I wouldn't have thought a player of Tuffy's prowess or lack thereof would have that many baseball cards produced about him. Judging by the poses and action shots he's in, you'd think he was Ernie Banks.

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  3. Pity there's not a shot of him in his distinctive batting stance, wagging his bat high overhead.

    Here's my Tuffy Rhodes collection spanning from his days as a speedy Astros prospect to a couple of last years cards with the Orix Buffaloes:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/daclyde/TuffyRhodes

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