...an occasional series wherein I raid my kids' baseball card collections and profile a one-time Chicago Cub.
Today we train our sights on a selection from the 2000 Victory card series.
Who: Henry Rodriguez, Leftfielder, 1998-2000
How The Cubs Got Him: In a trade with the Expos on December 12, 1997 for righthanded pitcher Miguel Batista. After going .251/.334/.530 with 31 HR and 85 RBI in '98, Rodriguez became a free agent, and the Cubs eagerly re-signed him.
What He Did While They Had Him: "H-Rod," as nobody ever called him, appeared in a total of 334 games as a Cub, hitting .272 with 75 HR and 223 RBI over his two-and-a-half seasons on the North Side. When Ed Lynch traded for him, he did so to bolster the Cub offense and provide some batting order protection for Sammy Sosa. Rodriguez mostly did what he was brought to Chicago to do, delivering OPS+ figures of 121, 134, and 110 for the Cubs. As a fielder he was relatively sure-handed; his range varied from little to you've-got-to-be-kidding.
How The Cubs Got Rid Of Him: In a July 31, 2000 deal with the Marlins just ahead of the trade deadline. The Cubs sent Rodriguez to Florida for minor leaguers Ross Gload and David Noyce. Though Cubs manager Don Baylor hated to see Rodriguez traded and thought he was a key to the Cubs finishing .500 or better in '00, G.M. Andy MacPhail had picked up Rondell White from the Expos, which made Rodriguez expendable.
Something Positive Someone Once Said About Him: "Jerry Lewis had Dean Martin. Jerry Seinfeld had Kramer. There wouldn't be an Abbott without Costello. Sammy Sosa has a sidekick, as well. Henry Rodriguez came out of the shadows of Sosa to hit two more home runs Wednesday as the Cubs smashed the San Francisco Giants 10-2. Rodriguez (30 homers) and Sosa became the first pair of Cubs outfielders to hit 30 or more homers apiece since Andy Pafko's 36 and Hank Sauer's 32 in 1950." (Chicago Sun-Times, 8/13/98)
Box Score To Remember: RODRIGUEZ 6 2 4 7 (Cubs vs. Montreal, 5/14/00)