Chicago Cubs: The Heroes of Wrigley Series presents Kerry Wood

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6 Jun 2001: Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs pulls back to pitch during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Cardinals 4-1.Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport
6 Jun 2001: Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs pulls back to pitch during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Cardinals 4-1.Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport /
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Pitcher Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs in action during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Diamondbacks 6-4.
Pitcher Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs in action during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Diamondbacks 6-4. /

Chicago Cubs: Like father, like son, Wood strives to be the best

On June 16, 1977, Kerry Lee Wood was born in Irving, Texas. His father, Gary, was once a star left-handed shortstop who quit playing baseball shortly after high school to focus on providing for his family.  Once Kerry was born, he handed down his passion for the game onto his son at an early age.  The youngster quickly fell deeply in love with the game, idolizing fellow Texan and flamethrower, Nolan Ryan.

Throughout youth baseball, Wood followed in his father’s footsteps, playing shortstop.  It wasn’t until high school at MacArthur High that he began pitching and, by then, people began to notice something special in him.

Unfortunately, he suffered the first of many arm injuries to come shortly after and was sidelined for two months.

When he returned for his sophomore season and completed a rehabilitation program, Wood was back on the mound.  He had grown several inches from the year before and his velocity had noticeably increased.  A sharp curveball had also been added to his repertoire that summer, courtesy of his father.  He began to emulate Roger Clemens on the mound, modeling his pitch delivery and kick after the Texas-born strikeout artist.

In a 1994 game, MacArthur was set to face Martin High School, a rival school in the district.  Martin High was the home of one of Texas’ top players, senior Ben Grieve.  Pro scouts from all over the country came to scout Grieve but, on that day, Wood made sure that Grieve wasn’t the only player they would report about.

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