Chicago Cubs: Kerry Wood 20 strikeout game
Amidst the buzz of memories for Cubs fans, this one finds itself at the top of the list. Starting in just his fifth career major league game, Kerry Wood dominated the Houston Astros on May 6, 1998.
Wood was just 20 years old. It was fitting for a set up to 20 strikeouts. The ‘blips’ on the radar, if you can even call it that, was a hit batter and an infield single. Other than that, perfection. According to Bill James’ Game Score metric, it remains to this day the greatest game ever pitched.
To make it sweeter, it was an Astros lineup which carried now Hall-of-Famers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell and was one of the best teams in the league at the time. Wood tossed 122 pitches in that complete-game effort, with zero walks to boot.
Wood finished off his rookie campaign in 1998 13-6, 3.40 ERA over 26 starts. He managed to post a ridiculous 33.3 percent strikeout rate over 166 2/3 innings. To imagine a 20-year-old striking out one out of three batters across the scope of a season is insane. Needless to say, that dreary May afternoon 21 years ago will always hold its weight as one of the best moments in Wrigley’s history.