From the Pages of Vine Line: Remembering 1998 – Playoff hosts

Fifteen years ago, the 1998 Cubs squad became the must-see event of the summer, as viewers around the country tuned in to WGN to see Sammy Sosa, Kerry Wood and the cardiac Cubs stage one of the most dramatic seasons in Chicago baseball history. Day after day, it seemed like the team was in a dogfight, and every win turned out to be vital, as the Cubs need an extra, 163rd contest to finalize their postseason push and give Chicago fans their first taste of meaningful October baseball in nearly a decade.

To commemorate all the ups and downs, Vine Line celebrates our 10 greatest moments from that historic 1998 campaign in the October issue of the magazine. Today marks the final part of the 10-part series.

Wood-98

(Photo by Stephen Green)

10/3/98 – The Postseason

Game 3 of the NLDS marked the end of a thrilling, roller-coaster season for the Cubs. The team returned to Wrigley Field in an 0-2 hole against the Braves in the best-of-five series, but the crowd was in a frenzy as rookie Kerry Wood squared off against future Hall of Famer and former Cub Greg Maddux in the Cubs’ first home playoff game since 1989.

The start was actually Wood’s first since Aug. 31, as he was sidelined with right elbow issues through the back half of the season.

“I rank that above the 20-strikeout game for me as far as that first year of my career,” Wood said. “It was a surreal moment for me to match up with a Hall of Famer. For me to match up, a rookie, a young kid, a 21-year-old kid at the time, matching up with Greg Maddux in the playoffs, [it was amazing].”

Though Wood’s pitch count mounted for the first few innings, he held his own, giving up three hits and one earned run on a passed ball. But as Kid K neared the 100-pitch mark after five innings, manager Jim Riggleman removed his young ace, and the Cubs couldn’t hold on, falling 6-2 to bring an end to the dramatic 1998 campaign.

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