April 2nd – April 8th
Greetings from Cincinnati….Opening Day is tomorrow and is there a better time of year? So much optimism!!! Do the Cubs have the 2K6 version of “Tuffy” Rhodes on the roster? How about Willie Smith? Who will get the first hit of the season for the Cubs? How about RBI? What about home run? We shall all find out soon.
This was the week the Cubs traded Dennis Eckersley and Mitch Williams. Could Derrek Lee be signed to a contract extension in the next 24 hours?
Now to the way back machine…. April 2
1976 – The A’s traded Reggie Jackson, Ken Holtzman (1965-1971) and a Minor League pitcher to the Orioles for Don Baylor (Manager, 2000-2002), Mike Torrez and Paul Mitchell
1987 – The Cubs traded Dennis Eckersley (1984-1986) and Dan Rohn to the A’s for three Minor Leaguers
2003 – Sammy Sosa (1992-2004) became the first Latin American player and 18th overall to hit 500 career home runs. The home run was hit off of Scott Sullivan in the 7th inning.
2002 – The Mets traded Gary Matthews, Jr. (2000-2001) to the Orioles for John Bale
1994 – Carl ‘Tuffy’ Rhodes (1993-1995) became the first National League player to hit 3 home runs on Opening Day. Rhodes hit all 3 home runs off of Dwight Gooden at Wrigley Field, but the Mets beat the Cubs 12-8.
1974 – Hank Aaron hit number 714 off of Jack Billingham
1995 – The Royals traded Brian McRae (1995-1997) to the Cubs for Derek Wallace and Geno Morones
1993 – Greg Maddux (1986-1992, 2004 to present) beat the Cubs 1-0 in his first game against his former team on Opening Day
1960 – The Giants purchased Dale Long (1957-1959) from the Cubs
2001 – Julio Zuleta (2000-2001) hit the first home run of the year for the Cubs
1993 – Jose Guzman (1993-1994) made his National League debut and took a perfect game into the 8th inning against the Atlanta Braves. Otis Nixon’s single with two outs in the 9th was the Braves only hit. The Cubs won 1-0.
1992 – In the first ever game at Camden Yards, Rick Sutcliffe (1984-1991) pitched a shutout for the Orioles
1961 – Vedie Himsl (The College of Coaches) was designated as the head coach of the Cubs for the first two weeks of the season
2000 – The Rockies traded Manny Aybar (2001) to the Reds for Gabe White
1992 – On Opening Day in Philadelphia, Greg Maddux (1986-1992, 2004 to present) held the Phillies to six hits in seven innings and the Cubs won 4-3
1991 – The Phillies traded Chuck McElroy (1991-1993) and Bob Scanlan (1991-1993) to the Cubs for Mitch Williams (1989-1990)
1969 – Bill Singer of the Dodgers was credited with the first official save
1974 – Hank Aaron hit home run #715 off of Al Downing in the 4th inning. Future Cub, Bill Buckner was in left field
1969 – In the opener at Wrigley Field, Willie Smith (1968-1970) hit a pinch hit home run in the 11th inning to give the Cubs the win 7-6. The Cubs stayed in first place for the first 155 days of the season.
1960 – The Dodgers traded Don Zimmer (1960-1961 Manager, 1988-1991) to the Cubs for John Goryl (1957-1959), Lee Handley, Ron Perranoski and cash. Perranoski became one of the top relievers in the National League
Maybe, just maybe the Cubs will make some history this week….now Back to the Future