Originally posted on World Series Dreaming  |  Last updated 5/6/13

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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Report: Luke Walton will not consider coaching offers until offseason

Budweiser: Peyton Manning not paid for Super Bowl beer plug

Archie Manning: 'I think Peyton's done in Denver'

Donald Trump: I told Tom Brady not to endorse me for President

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Marshawn Lynch: Complicated and talented NFL anti-hero

Hue Jackson lets Manziel and ex know they aren’t alone

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

Tyronn Lue faces backlash for Cavs record since Blatt’s firing

Report: LeSean McCoy assaulted off duty Philly police officers

John Elway was right, the Broncos didn’t need a Plan B

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

Top defensive performances in Super Bowl history

FBI questions Jeremy Shockey about drug and gambling ring

Coldplay drummer thought Johnny Football was real name

Ranking every game from 2015 NFL Playoffs

PHOTO: Panthers LB shows gruesome arm injury after SB

Patriots, Panthers early Super Bowl 51 favorites

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker