Chicago Cubs: Despite poor record, 1994 had a lot of memorable moments
Michael Jordan faces the Cubs at Wrigley Field
One of the most exciting baseball exhibition games ever took place on a cool spring day on April 7, 1994 when the GOAT suited up for the White Sox in the preseason. Jordan had retired from basketball in 1993 to pursue his dream of playing professional baseball. He was with the White Sox in camp before being sent to the Double-A Birmingham Barons.
Fans filled Wrigley Field to watch their former NBA hero play on the diamond. The results of the game came second, Jordan came first. He got standing ovations for every little thing he did, even catching routine fly balls in right. Jordan went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI in and the game ended in a 4-4 tie.
Tuffy Rhodes goes off on Opening Day
Dwight Gooden and the Mets got a taste of Cubs outfielder Tuffy Rhodes on Opening Day when he hit three home runs. He was the first player in National League history to hit three home runs on Opening Day and the first player in MLB history to hit three home runs in this first three at-bats of a season. Rhodes would only hit five more home runs the rest of the year.
Trebelhorn’s “Firehouse Chat”
It is not often a manager meets with a mob of angry fans outside the ballpark after a losing streak, but that is exactly what manager Tom Trebelhorn did after the Cubs ninth-consecutive home loss on April 29. Glenallen Hill had hit into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded in the ninth. He made a promise that if the Cubs would lose, he would meet with the fans outside Wrigley and he kept it. 200-some fans met him outside the firehouse on Waveland Avenue and he talked with the frustrated faithful. It sounded like he was able to calm the nerves of the fans with his calm and friendly persona.
Ryno’s first retirement
Similar to another future Hall of Famer in the city of Chicago who wore number 23, Ryne Sandberg would retire unexpectedly for a first time, only to return about a year after. On June 13, 1994, Sandberg announced he was retiring from baseball. He was 34 years old. In 1996 he returned and played through 1997 when he called it a career for good.
When baseball resumed in 1995, things did not get better for the Cubs. It was not until 1998 when they finally put up a winning season and postseason berth again.