Cubs and Wood Family Foundation celebrate the opening of Kerry Wood Cubs Field

Kerry-Wood-Cubs-FieldChicago high school and youth baseball players looking to sharpen their five tools or become the next “Kid K” in the majors now have a new baseball field on which to hone their talents.

Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, Cubs Charities Board Chair Laura Ricketts, 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar and Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly attended the Kerry Wood Cubs Field grand opening and ceremonial ribbon cutting on Thursday.

The new ballpark located near Lane Tech High School on Addison Street, about a mile from Wrigley Field, is owned and operated by the Chicago Park District. The field includes seating for 1,250 spectators and fans and will be used for Chicago Public High School League baseball games, and as a potential host site for IHSA state baseball playoffs. The Park District also will make the field available for recreational leagues and use by the general public.

The Cubs, Cubs Charities, Wood Family Foundation, City of Chicago, State of Illinois, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and Turner Construction all contributed to make the ballpark project possible.

“Cubs Charities believes developing the next generation of All-Stars starts with a strong foundation in health, fitness and education,” said Cubs Charities Board Chair Laura Ricketts. “Our support of Kerry Wood Cubs Field underscores our commitment to improving the quality of life in our great city and fostering a love of baseball.”

Kerry Wood has been actively involved in the community during and after an illustrious career that included two All-Star appearances, National League Rookie of the Year honors and a share of the record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game, 20, on May 6, 1998, against the Houston Astros. Kerry and his wife Sarah formed the Wood Family Foundation in 2011. The foundation works to improve the lives of children in and around Chicago by raising funds and awareness for its children’s programs and other children’s charities they support. Their support to build Kerry Wood Cubs Field is a visible sign of their family’s commitment to Chicago youth and families.

“It’s very exciting to see Kerry Wood Cubs Field open and ready for kids to start playing baseball,” Wood said. “I am humbled by the generosity of the Chicago Cubs, Cubs Charities, City of Chicago and Chicago Park District for making this dream a reality, not only for me and my family, but for all of the youth baseball players who will have the opportunity to play at the field.”

Beyond a field of dreams for young baseball players, Kerry Wood Cubs Field will be a strong community anchor to enhance the surrounding area, increase recreational activities and improve the quality of life for Chicago residents.

“Once again, the Chicago Park District is pleased to partner with the Chicago Cubs,” Kelly said. “The new Kerry Wood Cubs Field is a great investment in the community and will further strengthen our efforts to ensure that America’s favorite pastime continues to grow in Chicago’s parks.”

Alderman Ameya Pawar praised the public-private partnership as a driving force behind the successful completion of the project.

“I’m happy to see Kerry Wood Cubs Field open at Clark Park,” Pawar said. “I’m proud of the partnership between my office and the Chicago Cubs, Wood Family Foundation, the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and the Clark Park Advisory Council—together we took this idea from a concept to reality.”

“It is fantastic that a ballpark of this magnitude will be available to high school students across the city who want to develop and showcase their talents,” said Morgan Park High School baseball coach Earnest Radcliffe. “Playing at Kerry Wood Cubs Field will give these student athletes a sense of pride, especially understanding this field was named after one of the best pitchers to ever play the game.”

Following the ribbon cutting, Kerry Wood threw a ceremonial first pitch, and the field was immediately opened for community residents to enjoy. The first high school regular season game will be played in March of 2016.

 

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