Results tagged ‘ Kerry Wood ’

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.

From the Pages of Vine Line: Remembering 1998 – Kid K’s coming out party

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 second part of the 10-part series, which we’ll post here on the blog in the coming days.

Wood

(Photo by Stephen Green)

5/6/98—Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game

Kerry Wood may have been inexperienced in 1998, but what he did on May 6 against the mighty Houston Astros can’t be taught. In only his fifth major league start, facing one of the most potent offenses in baseball, Kid K made history by striking out 20 batters. His final line: 9 IP, 1 H, 20 K, 1 HBP, 0 BB.

“Honestly, I’m thinking, ‘I haven’t walked anybody yet,’ because I never pitched a game at all—the whole minor leagues—[in which] I wasn’t told, ‘You’re walking too many guys, you’re walking too many guys, you’re walking too many guys,’” Wood said.

The opposing Astros, who eventually ran away with the NL Central crown, led the NL in runs scored per game and on-base percentage that season, and they were second in batting average. Their powerful lineup boasted a pair of 1998 All-Stars in Craig Biggio and Moises Alou, as well as slugger Jeff Bagwell.

Wood’s 20 strikeouts were the most ever for an NL pitcher, and they tied Roger Clemens’ major league record. The game is now widely considered the most dominant nine-inning performance in baseball history.

1000 Words: Coach K holds court

struck

(Photo by Steve Green)

Minor league pitcher of the year Nick Struck gets some pointers from Cubs great Kerry Wood (who knows a thing or two about pitching).

Woody’s Winter Warm-Up tickets on sale now

Woody's-Winter-Warm-Up

(Art by Jerry Neumann)

Kerry Wood has spent most of his adult life honing his craft as a major league pitcher. So excuse him if he’s not a world-class bartender.

On Jan. 18, you’ll get your chance to see him in action and critique his skills as he slings drinks at the second annual Woody’s Winter Warm-Up at Harry Caray’s Tavern on Navy Pier. Starting at 8:30 p.m., Wood will join former and current Cubs players, as well as local celebrities, behind the bar, where they will compete for tips with all proceeds benefitting the Wood Family Foundation. Wood said the event is a good time, and current players like Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija and James Russell are expected to attend.

“People want to give back and do it for a good cause,” Wood said. “Last year … people got really into it, and it was really cool.”

At the inaugural mixer in 2012, the Grammy-nominated band Plain White T’s performed. They even got a little help from former Cub Randy Wells and baseball president Theo Epstein on a few songs. The event raised more than $85,000, thanks to about 30 current and former players, who pitched in behind the bar or simply enjoyed the evening.

But don’t count on Wood to make you the best Old-Fashioned or dirty martini of your life, as he admits this probably won’t be a new career path.

“I’m really good at taking the tops of beers off with the opener,” Wood joked. “I pour a mean glass of wine, but I’m not a mixologist.”

Tickets are on sale now and in limited supply. For more information, visit woodfamilyfoundation.org.

1000 Words: Cubs family

Chicago White Sox v Chicago Cubs

(Photo by Stephen Green)

The year 2013 is almost here. Have a safe and happy New Year’s with the ones you love.

Now Playing: Cubs, Kerry Wood break ground on new field

For years, Chicago Public League baseball teams haven’t had a true home-field advantage when the high school playoffs come around. Without a serviceable field to play on, city teams have been forced to trek out to the suburbs when the single-elimination tournament starts up each May. But that’s all about to change.

The Chicago Cubs Charities and the Wood Family Foundation broke ground on Kerry Wood Cubs Field Thursday, a high school baseball diamond located at Clark Park near Lane Tech High School about a mile west of Wrigley Field. The $5 million project should be completed in the first half of 2013. The stadium will seat 1,100 people and will have lights for potential night games.

Vine Line was there for the ceremony, where former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood and Cubs co-owners Tom and Laura Ricketts spoke of the excitement surrounding this new venture.

Hot Off the Presses: October Vine Line featuring the best of 2012

The Cubs’ 2012 season has been all about adjustments. Year One of the Theo Epstein regime is in the books, and despite the struggles at the major league level, the future is looking a little brighter. The Cubs took advantage of the draft and trade deadline to bolster their minor league system, but Epstein is far from complacent.

“I think we’ve made some pretty significant changes in direction as well as philosophy,” Epstein said. “It’s hard to talk about the year, though, without talking about the frustration that goes with it. We aren’t even close to where we want to be.”

One of the biggest changes late in the season has been the Cubs’ infusion of youth. Anthony Rizzo was called up on June 26 and made an immediate impact. On Aug. 5, top prospects Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters joined him on the parent club. In the October issue of Vine Line, we talk to the two good friends about their paths through the Cubs system and what they hope to accomplish at Wrigley.

“I can remember countless times just over the past couple of years, where either one of us was struggling or both of us were struggling, and we’d talk about it,” Vitters said. “I think we both know each other as a player enough that we have a decent idea of what it is the other person’s doing if they’re struggling a little bit or going through a rough patch.”

For our end-of-season issue, we also went to our blog to ask readers to help us determine the best highlights from the Cubs’ 2012 season. Despite the down year record-wise, the Cubs had a surprising amount of incredible memories, from Kerry Wood’s retirement to Ron Santo’s Hall of Fame induction to Alfonso Soriano’s bounceback year. You’ll find the results in our cover story, 12 for ’12.

Finally, we went into the booth with Len Kasper and Bob Brenly to get an inside look at what it really takes to put on a major league broadcast. If you think talking about baseball for four hours every day seems easy, think again.

For all these stories and more, subscribe to Vine Line or pick up an issue at select Chicago-area retailers. We’ve also launched a Vine Line Twitter account at @cubsvineline to keep you posted on Cubs happenings up to the minute—from Wrigley Field events like the Bruce Springsteen concert last month to all the breaking hot stove news.

Cast your vote for the best of 2012

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Santo’s induction? Rizzo’s walk-off? Kerry’s farewell? Even though this season has been a struggle in the standings, there’s been no shortage of memorable Cubs highlights. Which events from the 2012 season made you stand up and take notice? This month, Vine Line is letting you decide on the best of 2012. Cast your vote and see the results in the October issue.

1000 Words: Number one fan

Kerry Wood steps off the Wrigley Field pitcher’s mound for the final time after striking out the White Sox’s Dayan Viciedo on three pitches. As he walked toward the dugout to a standing ovation, his son, Justin, ran out to embrace him.

“My favorite memory and probably my best memory of the 14 years was yesterday walking off the field and having Justin run out and meet me,” Wood said on Saturday. “You can’t beat that. I wasn’t expecting it. I knew he might be in the dugout, but I did not expect him to run out and hug me. And he didn’t want to let go. You can’t put anything above that.”

(Photo by Stephen Green)

Kid K walks away

Chicago Cubs right-hander Kerry Wood formally announced his retirement from baseball today at Wrigley Field with his family by his side, ending a 14-season big league career.

Originally selected by the Cubs with the fourth overall pick in the 1995 draft, Wood pitched 16 years in the organization, including his first 14 seasons. He retires with the third-most strikeouts in team history (1,470) and as only the fourth pitcher to spend 12 or more seasons with the franchise, joining Charlie Root (16 seasons), Guy Bush (12) and Rick Reuschel (12).

The 34-year-old Wood walks away with a career 86-75 record, 63 saves, 1,582 strikeouts and a 3.67 ERA (563 ER/1380.0) in 446 major league appearances (178 starts). He averaged 10.32 strikeouts per nine innings in his career, the second-highest total of any pitcher in major league history, behind only Randy Johnson’s 10.61 mark (minimum 1,300 innings pitched).

On a perfect, sunny day at Wrigley, Wood stood at a podium in front of home plate and thanked his family, teammates, coaches and colleagues. Here are some highlights from the ceremony:

“I’m excited for the future, and I’m excited to watch what these guys are going to be capable of doing. These guys are starting the journey I’m ending today, and I’m looking forward to watching these guys grow and learn this game and ultimately bring a championship to the city that deserves it.”

“I just love the city, love the atmosphere. I love the attitude of the people, love just everything about it. I’m a kid from Texas who showed up here at 17 or 18 years old and white-knuckled the cab ride all the way to the stadium from the airport. I just never thought I’d be able to do it. The place grows on you, and I just love everything about it.”

“I didn’t have to try to crank this thing up today and come in and stretch or do anything like that. I got to watch a little league game this morning and loved every minute of it.”

“You know when it’s time. The body was telling me and obviously the results were telling me. So I’ve got no regrets. I played this game as long as I could and as hard as I could. And I’m fine saying that.”

“This is home. This is why I came back. The fans, this stadium. Yesterday was the best weather day we had. This place was beautiful and rocking. That’s the way I want to remember Wrigley Field, and that’s the way I will remember it.”

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