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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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: The crowd at Wrigley Field on May 6th, 1998 is not like one we are used to seeing today

One thing most classic Cubs games that happened at Wrigley Field the past 40 years have in common is 38,000+ fans in the stands. Whether playoffs or regular season, Wrigley has been more often packed than not the past few decades.

This was not the case at Wrigley for Wood’s 20K game. The ballpark was pretty empty, with attendance recorded at 15,758, according to baseball-reference. This was likely due to the fact it was a day game on a Wednesday early in the season with bad weather in the area. Most of the crowd was either in the lower level of the grandstand or the left/right-field bleachers. The upper deck of the grandstand was virtually empty, with maybe a few hundred spectators.

However, the few people that were there made the most of the experience. A group of fans in the left-field bleachers held up all the “K” signs after each strikeout got a lot of attention on the broadcast. The rest of the crowd cheered louder with each strikeout and started getting on their feet in the middle innings each time Wood got to two strikes.

Pat Hughes, on the radio, said, “It feels like a World Series game” in the ninth inning regarding the energy in the ballpark. A stadium filled under half capacity creating such a memorable atmosphere made the game very special, especially for those who attended or watched live.