Countdown to Opening Day: 25 Days…No. 25 belongs to Derrek Lee


25 Days to Opening Day and a look back at No. 25 in Chicago Cubs’ lore reminds fans of Opening Day exactly 20 years ago. There have been better players wear No. 25, players with more longevity, players with more talent and even players with more power.

But, Opening Day 1994 belonged to No. 25: Karl “Tuffy” Rhodes.

Rhodes started the 1994 season with three home runs to propel the Cubs offense to eight runs. He went 4-for-4 on Opening Day against starter Dwight Gooden and the New York Mets at Wrigley Field, but the Cubs fell 12-8. The 1994 season was his only year with more than 250 at-bats and he hit .237 with 11 home runs over his three-year stint on the North side.

Other notable players to don No. 25 were Bobby Bonds, Luis Gonzalez, and Rafael Palmeiro. Bonds played in the 1981 season, Gonzalez in 1995 and 1996, and Palmeiro in 1988.

Derrek Lee though wore it best. Lee was a corner piece in the Cubs’ back-to-back National League Central division winning teams in 2007 and 2008. His best year came in 2005 when he was hit 46 home runs and .335 average with a league-leading 199 hits and was named an All-Star and awarded a Gold Glove.

Lee hit .281 and averaged 28 home runs a season with a .365 OBP over his 14-year career. His seven seasons from 2004-2010 were better than Rhodes put up on Opening Day 20 years ago.
It’s all about consistency.

Consistency – something Cub fans would love to see come 25 days from now.