Tuffy Rhodes (born August 21, 1968, in Cincinnati, Ohio) is a retired professional baseball player. He played 6 years in Major League Baseball before playing 10 seasons of Japanese baseball beginning in 1996. In 2006, he tried to return to Major League Baseball with the Cincinnati Reds but was released by the team in spring training.
Rhodes was an ambassador to the game of baseball and a class act while in Japan. He is the all time leader for foreign born players with 360 homeruns in Japan. He carried himself with grace, and was one of the biggest superstars during his era in Japan. Learning to speak fluent Japanese was well embraced as well as the long home runs.
Prior to Japan, he was an outfielder who played in Major League Baseball for the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox from 1990-1995.
A versatile reserve player, Rhodes was a good-fielding utility and left-handed pinch hitter. His only season of more than 250 at bats came with the 1994 Cubs. In that season, Rhodes became the first National League player to hit three home runs on opening day when he connected off Dwight Gooden at Wrigley Field.
In his major league career, Rhodes batted .224, with 13 home runs and 44 runs batted in, 74 runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 225 games played. Granted free agency after the '95 season, he signed with the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes of the Japanese Pacific League.
Unexpectedly, Rhodes went from zero to hero in Japan. A strict workout routine and adjustments in the batting cage made him a more complete and stronger hitter than he had been previously. In the 2001 season, he hit his 55th homer to tie Sadaharu Oh's Japanese League single season home run record, set in 1964. With five games to go, Rhodes would see few good pitches to finish the season. The following year Alex Cabrera tied the record, but he also was denied good pitches to hit late in the year.
He signed with the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese Central League in 2004.