Kerry Wood was my Stephen Strasburg. He put life into Cubs fans everywhereâ€¦scratch thatâ€¦he put hope into Cubs fans everywhere. The second he threw his first pitch, I knew this was the start of somethingâ€¦and I was right.
It may be the most clichÃ© thing to write about him but who does not remember arguably the greatest game a pitcher has ever thrown? The 1998 Gem in which he gave up one infield hit while striking out a MLB Record (tying) 20 batters. Greatest game ever is not a reach. It is a legitimate argument. Yes, there was Larsenâ€™s Perfecto in the World Series and Clemens struck out 20 twice but there was just something about that game that people never forgot about. There have been plenty of no hitters and even a fair amount of perfect games since then, but none ever seem to develop a life of their own like Woodâ€™s performance in 1998. Man, what a gameâ€¦
There are two more things that I remember though, both came in the 2003 Playoffs. The first was how dominant he was on the mound during the postseason, the 2ndâ€¦when he hit a game tying HOME RUN in game 7 against the Marlins. I was just coming off the lowest of all lows when that Jackass interfered with Alou catching that fly ballâ€¦and he would have caught that ball. I do not care what you say about it. I sat and watched game 7, we are down, and they brought Kerry Wood up, (I think we were down 3, I do not look up stats as I try to keep it real in my articles). I questioned it yes, but not entirely because I knew Wood could hit with any pitcher in the game. I was deflated, I knew we were going to lose, we were cursed yaâ€™ knowâ€¦and then he belts a 3 Run Home Run to tie the game. For one second, I punched a ticket to the World Series. It was the only time I ever felt that way since 1978 when I was born to be a Cubs fan. I still get chills just thinking about.
Kerry Wood, you will not be a Hall of Famer as your High School coach ruined your arm, but you had Hall of Fame talent, you were a Cub for life, and you gave me chills that are still alive after 14 years. I wish you nothing but the best and I thank you for your service.