Chicago Cubs: Who were the five best players on the 1998 team?

Chicago Cubs (DANIEL LIPPITT/AFP via Getty Images)
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Chicago Cubs
Kerry Wood / Chicago Cubs Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Kirn /Allsport /

Chicago Cubs – #4: A historic, injury marred rookie campaign for Wood

What can I say about Kerry Wood that hasn’t been said a hundred times already. He’s one of the most beloved Cubs of all-time, despite an injury-ravaged run that derailed what many expected to be a Hall of Fame-caliber career.

Wood made baseball history in early May that season, striking out 20 Astros in a what many consider to be the most dominant pitching performance of all-time. The 21-year-old hurler led all big league arms with a 6.3 H/9 and 12.6 K/9 across 166 2/3 innings of work.

Similar to Grace, Wood was something altogether different at the Friendly Confines. He went 9-1 that year at Wrigley, working to a 2.97 ERA. After limping through August, the right-hander hit the shelf with elbow soreness that cost him the final month of the season.

Despite that injury (which actually led to Tommy John surgery) – Wood brought home NL Rookie of the Year honors, accumulating 3.8 WAR in his first taste of Major League action.