A Texas rookie brings the heat to Wrigley
On May 6, 1998, in just his fifth Major League start, Kerry Wood proved he was something special.
He tied the big-league record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game, striking out 20 Houston Astros hitters on the afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Wood opened the afternoon with five-straight punch outs, mixing his high-90s fastball and a devastating, knee-buckling breaking ball. From there, he never looked back, leading the Cubs to a 2-0 win, allowing one hit and walking none.
The right-hander constantly drew comparisons to Hall of FamerNolan Ryan
. Hard-throwing, gritty and a Texas native. He didn’t always dominate to that level, but he still put together one of the most impressive rookie seasons in Cubs history.
A winner of 13 games, Wood averaged just under 13 strikeouts per nine, totaling 233 Ks in just 166 2/3 innings pitched. In the month he posted his 20-K game, he pitched to a 1.54 ERA in five starts, limiting opponents to a .156 clip.
Wood spent all but two of his years in Major League Baseball in a Chicago Cubs uniform. His last career appearance, he struck out Dayan Viciedo at Wrigley Field before leaving, holding his young son in his arms in front of the Cubs dugout.
From his rookie season to his last bow, Kid K impressed on the North Side, leaving us all with memories we won’t soon forget.