Kerry Wood. The mere mention of his name is likely to draw some type of emotional reaction from Cubs fans. There is no hiding the fact that Wood has been the most popular Cub for the past decade.
When someone mentions Kerry Wood’s name to me, what is my reaction? My reaction is bitter-sweet. On one hand, I am a Cubs fan at heart, and love all the things that Wood symbolizes. Wood has been a symbol for the Chicago Cubs throughout his entire career, regardless of whether he was on the Cubs, Cleveland Indians, or New York Yankees. Yes, I was suckered into the heart-warming story of how Wood returned to the Cubs after the 2010 season.
But those are not the only feelings that come to my heart when I hear the mention of Kerry Wood. The other feeling is disappointment and confusion. Disappointment because of what Wood could have been. Wood took the Major Leagues by a storm when he struck out 20 Houston Astros in a game during his rookie season, but that may be the best on the field memory that anyone has of Wood. The bulk of Wood’s career has been spent on the disabled list with various arm injuries that eventually led to Wood becoming a reliever. Wood was a successful reliever, though, not to the level that should earn him hall of fame consideration. Neither should Wood be considered as a hall of fame starting pitcher.
That is where the confusion comes in for me. Because I get the feeling that while Cubs fans will never admit this, Wood will be remembered most for being a mascot to the Cubs’ organization than he would for anything that he has done on the field. For that reason, I say that Kerry Wood should not be considered for the hall of fame nor should his number be retired.
I know I may be in the minority in saying that, and I want to give you the opportunity to voice your opinion. Feel free to vote on whether or not you think Kerry Wood’s number should be retired by the Cubs’ organization, and leave comments as to what you think Wood will be remembered for when his career is examined down the line.