The Top 20 Cub HR Of All Time - #11 Kerry Wood 10/15/2003

Wood is the first player to appear twice on this countdown.

And this HR is perhaps the saddest of all of them, because at the time it was hit, it gave us all such great hope, hope that was heightened an inning later when Moises Alou also homered (that one, I had almost forgotten).

Wood had been knocked around in the first inning when Juan Pierre led off with a triple, Ivan Rodriguez walked (I-Rod, who in general is hard to walk, set a career high in 2003 with 55 walks and drew five more in the NLCS), and Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer.

Down 3-0 in the third, the Cubs fought back. Eric Karros led off with a single off Mark Redman. Alex Gonzalez doubled, but Karros couldn't score. He did one out later on a Damian Miller groundout, which advanced Gonzalez to third. Wood teed off on a Redman pitch and sent everyone into a frenzy, both in the ballpark and in the streets, which were packed with thousands of people who couldn't even get into the ballpark, but just wanted to be in the vicinity to soak up the atmosphere. The game was tied.

Alou's HR in the next inning, after Sammy Sosa was hit by a pitch, gave the Cubs the lead, and gave us even more hope.

That hope was dashed in the fifth when the Marlins smacked Wood around and retook the lead.

I don't think there's any need to rehash the rest of the game, or the bad decisions Dusty Baker made with his bullpen (while Jack McKeon was using Brad Penny and Josh Beckett in relief). If you can stand it, here's the boxscore.

In all of Cubs history, they have played five winner-take-all games: the famous makeup of the Merkle game against the New York Giants on October 8, 1908 (the winner getting the NL pennant), game 7 of the 1945 World Series on October 10, 1945, game 5 of the 1984 NLCS on October 7, 1984, the wildcard tiebreaker vs. the Giants on September 28, 1998, and game 7 of the 2003 NLCS.

In all of those games, only five Cubs have hit HR: Jody Davis and Leon Durham (1984), Gary Gaetti (1998), and Wood and Alou (2003). That's not a very good record. Time to change that, this year -- and win the game, too (the Cubs are 2-3 in those games, winning in 1908 and 1998, losing the others).

Onward to victory in 2008. It's time.

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