Kerry Wood, one of the most beloved and iconic modern Chicago Cubs players, retired back in May. In celebration of this, I reached out to a couple of Cubs fans that I know and asked if they would be interested in writing their thoughts about Kerry. My brothers took me up on the task. Today’s post is courtesy of my middle brother, Matt. None of us looked at the others thoughts ahead of time, so any similarities are incidental. If you also want to share some thoughts, feel free to leave comments and/or email me with a post you’d liked me to post. My post is available here and Brian’s is available here.
Freshman year I came back from class and put on the Cubs game in my dorm room, one of Kerry Wood’s first starts. Wood was the latest in a line of future saviors for the Cubs and while he was good in his first few starts we hadn’t fully seen his potential yet. It was obvious pretty early on in that game that Wood was up to something special that day on his way to 20 strikeouts. The Astros hitters were not just striking out, they were missing his curveball by a foot, or were swinging a way late as the fastball flew by them. Even their only hit of the day was a questionable infield hit in the first inning that probably should have been called an error. None of the balls the Astros put in play were hit hard, I am not even sure the Cubs needed guys playing in the outfield that day. I can’t imagine a more dominating performance by a pitcher, and here we finally had that guy on our team, certainly the best was yet to come.
Wood seemed to be putting everything together in 2003 and was pitching like the Ace we always hoped he would be in the playoffs. Most people remember the heartbreaking loss to the Marlins in Game 6 with a chance to go to the World Series for the first time in forever, but one of my lasting memories of that playoff run was of Kerry Wood hitting a home run to put the Cubs up early on in Game 7 after I had given up hope that the Cubs could bounce back from such a tough loss the previous game. The Cubs went on to lose that game, but I will always remember hearing all of Wrigleyville celebrating as he crushed that ball over the fence.