Name: Kerry Wood
Position: Relief Pitcher
Team: Chicago Cubs
Description: 7.25 inches tall; Kerry in dressed in a Peoria Chiefs uniform and is just starting his pitching motion.
Relevance: Kerry Wood was my favorite baseball player during the past fourteen seasons. He spent time in Peoria rehabbing with the Chiefs during the 2005, 2006, and 2007 seasons.
How Acquired: A giveaway promotion at a Peoria Chiefs baseball game.
Notes: Kerry is most noted probably for the potential career that never was, but that was due to a spotty injury history. He battled back from injury more times than he or I would care to count. But, he always worked hard, was a good teammate, gave back to the community, and said & did the right things.
Player History: Kerry Wood was drafted out of high school as the Cubs number one draft pick in June of 1995. He debuted during the 1998 season, at the age of twenty-one, and helped the Cubs secure the wild card with help of Sammy Sosa’s sixty-six homers. He struck out 20 Astros in only his fifth major league start, in what some pundits have called the most dominating pitching performance ever. I still remember walking into my dorm room after class and turning on the game in the middle of the third inning. His slider was so filthy that day! Kerry missed all of the ’99 season due to an elbow injury. Kerry won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1998, was invited to two all-star games, and at one point he became a solid closer.
Peoria Chiefs Career totals: 5 games, 2 starts, 0-0 record, 10.1 innings, 3 hits allowed, 1 walk, 1 hit batter, 1 wild pitch, 20 strikeouts, 0.58 WHIP, 0.00 ERA, and 17.4 K/9. 17 strikeouts per every nine innings? That’s ridiculous.
Bonus Note: I graduated high school one year after Kerry Wood and had elbow surgery one year before him. We have very similar body types AND he pitched for my favorite team. I lived vicariously through him for more than a decade and maybe even shed a tear the day he retired.