Originally written on World Series Dreaming  |  Last updated 11/17/14

CHICAGO - JUNE 7: Starting pitcher Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball on his way to his 50th career victory against the New York Yankees during the interleague game at Wrigley Field on June 7, 2003 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Yankees 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Today is May 6th, 2013, 15 years to the day that something very special happened at Wrigley Field.  In 1998, the Cubs made it to the playoffs as the National League wild card after a nine-year absence and when Sammy Sosa was going bonkers and helping North Siders and America love baseball again.  But on May 6th, 1998, before Sammy’s power surge kicked in, a young pitcher making his fifth start ever opened our eyes and made us really pay attention. That Astros team was no slouch either.  In addition to should-be Hall of Famers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, they also had a pretty damned good hitter in Moises Alou and the lineup was good enough to win 102 games and take the Central.  Despite having the pitcher’s spot, only one of the K’s was to the opposing pitcher (Shane Reynolds, who also had a bunt) and another was to the pinch-hitter.  The game score of 105 is the highest on record, putting this as the most dominating pitching performance of all time at least by this statistic. You can read all about Kerry Wood here.  We know he won Rookie of the Year in 1998, had a bunch of injury problems, came back to grab a couple All-Star spots (one as a starter for the 2003 squad, one as the closer for the 2008 squad), and then those injuries caught up to him.  In that 20-K game, Wood threw 122 pitches.  Normally that shouldn’t be an issue, but Wood himself suggested that he felt the first of many arm issues during that start. We can look at Kerry Wood as a cautionary tale for baseball in general.  Baseball players come and go, and very few stand the test of time and go on to become all-time greats.  That doesn’t mean that Kerry Wood was crap.  Wood was very productive during parts of 14 seasons and a key part of four Cubs playoff teams as well as a consistent contributor to the Yankees playoff squad of 2010.  He just got very unlucky with injuries, something that unfortunately happens to many professional athletes.  He tried to fight through it, and couldn’t…and so he retired in one of the best going-away deals most of us have ever witnessed: Your browser does not support iframes. I know that many folks are cynical about Wood receiving far more praise than he might have deserved.  Wood earned over $70MM (before Uncle Sam’s cut) over his career and never really had a bad story written about him to my recollection.  He was probably overpaid to be a mascot last season before his retirement, but Wood brings back a lot of good memories and thoughts of what might have been.  I think it’s reasonable to think about the hypothetical, and to recognize that at one point, before he was a mediocre GM, Jim Hendry was pretty good at scouting and put together a rotation that had Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano where the sky was the limit.  In addition to baseball, Kerry Wood is a steady presence in Chicago events and holds fundraisers periodically to help out local charities. If folks choose to dwell on how Kerry Wood might have stolen some extra cash over the past couple seasons when he should have retired, that’s their issue.  I choose to remember the potential that was and could have been, and the person off the field who still loves Chicago as much as most of us do.  It’s good to have good memories.  In a century-plus of fail, this was one of the best.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Darrelle Revis, Ndamukong Suh exchange words after game

Curt Schilling's son causes scare at Logan Airport

Manziel's girlfriend tells Browns to put Johnny Football in

Scalpers in Detroit selling free Jets-Bills tickets for $125

Report: Redskins could bench Robert Griffin III

Broncos have meeting with scoreboard operator

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Cowboys could still pursue Adrian Peterson

Manny Pacquiao: I'm ready to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr.

John Calipari gets daughter's birthday wrong

Carson: Hall of Fame career not worth concussion problems

Tiger hires new swing coach

Is Sting making his WWE debut at Survivor Series?

Video: RG3 gets crushed, his linemen look unfazed

WATCH: Robert Griffin III takes vicious helmet-to-helmet hit

WATCH: Dominic Raiola tries to cheap-shot Patriots' lineman

WATCH: Janoris Jenkins returns interception 99 yards for TD

WATCH: TY Hilton chokes up in emotional postgame interview

WATCH: Chris Clemons accidentally knocks ref's hat off

WATCH: Aaron Rodgers throws nifty TD across his body

WATCH: LeGarrette Blount does Antonio Brown's end zone dance

WATCH: Eagles take opening kickoff 107 yards for TD

Western Carolina coach blasts Kirk Herbsreit

WATCH: Young reporter asks Helfrich funny question

Sager makes first appearance since leukemia diagnosis

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Dominic Raiola admits to dirty play

WATCH: Revis, Suh exchange words

Manziel's GF wants her man to play

Cowboys to pursue Adrian Peterson?

Cal gets daughter's bday wrong

Carson: Career not worth concussions

Report: Gundy pursuing Florida job

Tiger hires new swing coach

WATCH: Jameis Winston shoves ref

Florida DL supports Will Muschamp with eye black

Jay Gruden: RG3 has been 'coddled'

LeBron: Love needs to 'demand' the ball

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.