Results tagged ‘ Wood Family Foundation ’

Wood hitting a homer with his foundation’s fundraising event

Battle-of-Bats-Preview-0040(Photo Courtesy Wood Family Foundation)

In his playing days, Kerry Wood was one of the toughest pitchers in baseball. There’s no way he was going to let a little rain keep fans away from Wrigley Field for one of his signature events.

On July 10, the Wood Family Foundation will host the second-annual Kerry Wood and Friends Battle of the Bats Home Run Derby. The event gives fans a chance to step into the batter’s box at the Friendly Confines and take their hacks in front of the ivy. The derby was originally scheduled for May 25, but it was rained out. The event gives fans a chance to live out their childhood dreams by stepping into the batter’s box and taking their hacks at Wrigley Field.

“I think both Cubs Charities and my foundation realized what kind of an event it can be,” said former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood. “Last year, we had a great turnout, a great event. We raised a lot of money for charities, so I think we’re looking to do bigger and better this year.”

What makes the event truly special is that participants get to do something unique and possibly something they have been dreaming of their whole lives. Though Wood was able to step into the Wrigley Field batter’s box on 190 regular-season occasions throughout his 14-year big-league career, what this opportunity means to fans isn’t lost on the ex-Cub. With money being raised for his foundation and participants having a good time, the event becomes twice as rewarding.

“I think when you’re running a foundation or you’re doing it for charity or anything to raise money, you do [make]… experiences,” Wood said. “You get the emails after it’s over, and they all had great stories.

“We had people in bare feet in the grass in the outfield, walking around. I don’t think I’ve done that—walk around in the outfield in my bare feet.”

Some of Wood’s former Cubs teammates are scheduled to on hand, and Wood said others will likely make an appearance. Contestants will each get 10 outs—that’s any swing that isn’t a home run. The top 10 qualifiers will reach the second round, with the top three going to the finals.

Interested parties can sign up in teams of four with a $15,000 minimum donation, or as individuals for $3,500. New this year, the top six high school-aged fundraisers will also get an opportunity to compete.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Cubs Charities and the Wood Family Foundation’s Pitch In Program. The Pitch In Program partners young students, fourth grade and up, with a caring adult who will serve as a mentor throughout the school year. The goal is for the students, currently in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood, to have guidance until they reach high school. The program started in October 2014 and is continuing to grow.

“I feel like we’re getting a chance to affect multiple kids in the neighborhood,” Wood said. “It’s been great for us. It’s been a great learning experience for us. I know the kids are really enjoying it. I know the families are really enjoy us being there. We’re all going through this together.”

Last year’s home run derby raised more than $100,000 and will play a big role in Pitch In’s summer program, which kicks off this year.

“Any time you can get fans out, get a chance to get out on the field and take some hacks, it’s a pretty special day,” Wood said.

For more information or to sign up, visit cubs.com/derby. Or visit wffpitchin.org for more information on the Pitch In program.

—Phil Barnes

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.

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.

A pitch for philanthropy

Art by Jerry Neumann, and story by Jordan Ramos. Featured in the upcoming August issue of Vine Line.

There’s no doubt that Kerry Wood has made an impact in Chicago ever since he was a 20-year-old rookie. But now, as one of the Cubs’ veteran leaders, Wood is looking to make an even wider impact with his new charitable foundation.

In late June, Kerry and his wife, Sarah, announced the creation of the Wood Family Foundation, an organization that will benefit children’s charities throughout Chicagoland. They were joined by their three young children.
“Sarah and I have committed ourselves to Chicago, and I would like to use my success on and off the field to help grow a foundation that will make a difference in a child’s life,” Wood said.

Two of the foundation’s initial projects will be a playroom for children receiving cancer treatment at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and a high school baseball field for students in an underserved area. Clothing, school-supply and toy drives will also be sponsored by the Wood family. (more…)