May-be a blessing, maybe not

Kerry Wood

Bruce Miles, of the Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Ill.), wrote the excellent cover feature on Kerry Wood’s return to Chicago for the June 2011 issue of Vine Line. The following is his short sidebar on the meaning of May to the former “Kid K.” (Photo by Stephen Green)

The month of May has been a memorable and historic one for Kerry Wood.

Everybody remembers Wood’s 20-strikeout game May 6, 1998, when he totally dominated the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field. Five days later, Wood struck out 13 at Arizona.

Three years later, Wood and Jon Lieber teamed up for some more May memories.

On May 24, 2001, Lieber tossed a one-hit, 3-0 shutout of the Cincinnati Reds, polishing off the visitors in a snappy 1 hour-and-48 minute win. The next day Wood one-hit the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field, finishing the 1-0 victory in 1:57.

Wood insists the month of May doesn’t hold any special significance.

“Nope. Other than the sun starts coming out and temperatures start going up,” he said.

Wood told the Daily Herald that the 20-strikeout game was the “best and worst thing” that happened to him.

“Best, it put me on the map and gave me confidence that I belonged here. That’s the best thing. Worst thing, it changed life off the field for me. It became national. It wasn’t like Sammy [Sosa] and [Mark] McGwire, but it was national for a few months. It was a little overwhelming being 20 years old and having to deal with all that being under the microscope. And then every time I tweaked something…that was tough for me. But you deal with it. It’s part of the game, and I felt like I handled it fairly well.”

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