FanPost

My thoughts on Kerry Wood

5982_medium

via static.foxsports.com

In the mid-1990s I remember the late Harry Caray announcing the final scores of minor league games for the Cubs teams and he would often mention Kerry Wood. Even before he threw a pitch in the majors, Caray was a fan of Kerry. As a Cubs fan, I didn't follow the minor league teams that heavily, but I was excited about this young prospect, Kerry Wood, and couldn't wait to see him pitch in the big leagues. Little did I know that within a couple of years, he'd be in The Show.

Sadly, Harry Caray would not live to see Kerry Wood's debut or his phenomenal 20 Ks against the Houston Astros on May 6, 1998. Nor would Harry live to see the amazing Cubs season of that year when they made an improbable run at the wild-card. I doubt that they would have gotten there without Kerry Wood. At the time, Mark Grace said that his addition to the starting rotation was akin to acquiring a veteran for the stretch drive. Except that this was no veteran, but a 20-year old young man who was drawing comparisons to Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens.

No doubt many of us will be discussing our favorite Kerry Wood moments over the weekend. There are many of them for me with the 20-strikeout performance being at the top of the list. For me, it is the greatest pitching performance I have ever seen. No disrespect to Roger Clemens, but I'll take Wood's 20-strikeout game over both of Roger's. I'll even take it over Stephen Strasburg's 14-strikeout performance in his MLB debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Clemens faced the Mariners in 1986 and Tigers in 1996. Strasburg faced the Pirates in 2010. All of these teams were bad ballclubs. The 1998 Houston Astros was a great team with a powerful lineup featuring Jeff Bagwell, Moises Alou, Craig Biggio and they also won 102 games that year. And I still think that Wood was robbed of a no-hitter because Ricky Gutierrez's "hit" should have been ruled an error on Cubs third baseman Kevin Orie.

The next great Kerry Wood moment for me after that is Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS. Yes, the Cubs lost that game and it was a crushing blow to us fans. But it was a gutsy performance by Kerry Wood who kept battling back against the Marlins to the point where he even hit a game-tying two-run homerun in the bottom of the 2nd inning. After the game, Kerry took responsibility for the loss by saying "I choked". I always appreciated his candor and leadership, but he was wrong. He didn't choke. It just wasn't meant to be for the Cubs that year, but they would have never made it that far without Kerry Wood. He'll never make the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but as far as Chicago is concerned, he'll easily make it to the Cubs Hall of Fame and never be forgotten. So long, Kerry.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Bleed Cubbie Blue

You must be a member of Bleed Cubbie Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bleed Cubbie Blue. You should read them.

Join Bleed Cubbie Blue

You must be a member of Bleed Cubbie Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bleed Cubbie Blue. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker