Chicago Cubs: Why Kerry Wood’s 20K game stands out

Kerry Wood, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Kerry Wood, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Michael Jordan, Sammy Sosa – Chicago Cubs (Photo by DANIEL LIPPITT / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL LIPPITT/AFP via Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: The historic game took place during the final chapter of one of the greatest sports dynasties in history

The summer of 1998 will be remembered for the Sammy Sosa vs. Mark McGwire in the sports world, but Wood’s 20K game took place early in the season. Why is this significant? Because the spring of 98′ had Chicago’s attention focused on the sixth and final championship run by Michael Jordan and the Bulls.

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In fact, the same day Wood struck out 20 hitters; the Bulls took on the Charlotte Hornets in game two of the second round of the NBA playoffs. The city was Bulls crazy, and they were far and away from the biggest talk of the town. Meanwhile, the Cubs spent most of the decade being irrelevant and bad, especially heading into 1998 as seven of their previous eight seasons were losing seasons.

Early 1998 was also a time when some baseball fans around the world were still soured by the infamous strike of 1994. The magnificent home run race between Sosa and Big Mac helped bring baseball back to life, but the hype began to pick up later in the summer. Wood’s performance put what had been a bad team for a while in the national sports news and was nice for the sport.

“Hey, I know the Bulls are playing tonight, but did you hear what happened at Wrigley Field?” was not something said very often in the 90s.