Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/18/12

Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood's strikeout was thought to be the final batter he faced in his career.

Wood, the flame-throwing pitcher known for a record-setting 20-strikeout performance, reportedly was planning to announce his retirement Friday after the Cubs' game against the Chicago White Sox.

Wood reportedly wanted one more opportunity to pitch in a game, then retire, according to ESPN.com.

"It's just time," Wood said after the game. "It was time. We saw how things were going this year and just not being able to recover and bounce back and do my job, essentially. You know, do what I'm supposed to do, day in and day out. Just the grind of getting ready every day. To go through it, hours to get ready for fifteen pitches and go out there and not be successful.

"You know it was just time, time to give someone else a chance."

The right-hander was called in to replace starter Jeff Samardzija with one out in the eighth inning to face right-handed batter Dayan Viciedo. Wood struck out Viciedo swinging on three pitches.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum then replaced Wood, who shook hands with all of his infielders and waved at others as he left the mound. After he tipped his cap to cheers from the sellout crowd, he was met before the dugout steps by his son. He then was greeted by hugs from many of his teammates in the dugout before he watched the rest of the game with this son.

Wood will end a 14-year career that had him beginning as a starter and switching to a closer for the last seven years.

"Tremendous stuff," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was a teammate of Wood's with the Cubs and managed him in New York. "Dominant stuff every day he went out, especially before he had the arm surgery. He had no-hit stuff. Loved playing with him. He's been a great player for a long time. I'm sure it's going to be a difficult day for him."

Wood has an 86-75 career record with a 3.67 ERA and 63 saves. He played 12 seasons with Chicago with stops with Cleveland and the New York Yankees. He finished with 1,582 strikeouts.

"He could have gone other places, but he loved Chicago and Chicago loves him," said Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, who managed Wood in Chicago. "I thought he was gonna retire at the end of the year, but when the time calls, it's time to go. He's one of my favorite guys. Knew him since he was a kid in the Instructional League. He's a fine man."

This season, his second in his return stint with the Cubs, he has struggled with a 0-2 record and an 8.64 ERA while battling injuries.

Cubs fans, though, will remember him for the 1998 game at Wrigley Field during which he struck out 20 Houston Astros in his fifth career start. That tied Roger Clemens' record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game.

He helped the Cubs earn playoff spots in 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2008. However, he also faced a myriad of injuries throughout his career. He was out for all of 1999 after Tommy John surgery.

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