Kerry Wood’s legacy will always include his famous 20-strikeout game against the Astros in 1998, but his career was so much more than one game during his rookie season. He may have finished with only 86 wins and 63 saves, but Kerry was the essence of a Cub. His influence in Chicago could not be contained by the friendly confines. For years he was the ace of the staff and saw the likes of Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano, Jon Lieber, Matt Clement, Shawn Estes, and Greg Maddux come and go as his rotation mates.
It was Wood who struck out 266 batters to thrust Chicago in to the middle of the 2003 playoff push and had the Cubs just a few outs from reaching the World Series. It was Wood who was the closer during the 2008 season as he saved 34 games while striking out 88 in 66 innings. It is Wood who holds a charity bowling event every year for the Wood Family Foundation, dedicated to help support baseball for inner city kids.
He is a one of a kind guy who will never be forgotten by Cubs fans. Much like Ron Santo, Wood’s legacy goes beyond the stats and the awards, and his positive contributions transcended the chalk lines. He may not be a Hall of Famer, but Kerry will always be Kid K in the hearts of all Cubs fans.
And just like that- he goes out with a strikeout. We’ll miss you Kerry.