Results tagged ‘ Kerry Wood ’
Kerry Wood shares lessons he’s learned in life in a new book, “All You Can Be: Learning and Growing through Sports.” Art students from Chicago Public Schools helped illustrate the book. Anyone can benefit from the valuable principles Wood learned, such as staying positive, working with teammates, and the importance of family, even if you don’t want to be a Major League pitcher. The book also has photos of Wood growing up and from his days with the Cubs. Published by Triumph Books, the list price is $16.95, and proceeds go to the Wood Family Foundation. Wood, 34, retired on May 18 after 14 seasons. On Wednesday, Wood was at Wrigley Field to introduce the book and meet the artists who did the drawings. This is Wood’s story, but yours truly did the writing.
– Carrie Muskat
Kerry Wood will sign copies of a new book, “All You Can Be: Learning and Growing Through Sports,” on May 29 at Barnes & Noble Old Orchard, Skokie, IL, 7:30-9 p.m. CT; May 30 at The Cubs Store, Wrigley Field, 45 minutes after the game; and June 29 at Costco, 2746 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago, 7-8:30 p.m.
This is Wood’s first children’s book in which he shares valuable principles he learned growing up that helped him have success in the Major Leagues. Fourth graders from Chicago Public Schools provided drawings exemplifying their own goals for the future and the illustrations are included in the book. A portion of all proceeds will help support children’s programs run by the Wood Family Foundation.
– Carrie Muskat
It seemed as if Kerry Wood’s final appearance was perfectly scripted but Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk said the right-hander almost went longer in the game rather than the drama of striking out one batter and exiting. Quirk, manager Dale Sveum and the other coaches had talked about Wood’s request to have one more appearance before retiring. They weren’t sure exactly when it would happen. What complicated things a little was that Sveum was ejected in the fifth, which meant the final decision was up to Quirk.
“We knew we wanted to get him in — we didn’t know it would be that day, that weekend,” Quirk said Wednesday. “It was emotional, even for me, and I’ve only been around Kerry for three months. I was literally thinking he would pitch to the two right-handers [Dayan Viciedo and Alex Rios]. [Wood] was due up sixth [in the Cubs eighth]. The worst case scenario is he would pitch to the two right-handers, and I told [pitching coach Chris Bosio] if we don’t get to his spot, I can send him back out and then we can go get him and he can get his ovation.”
Wood struck out Viciedo on three pitches and Rios had poor numbers against left-handed pitchers so Quirk decided to pull Wood at that point and called on left-hander James Russell.
“What better time? He just struck him out, we still had a ballgame,” Quirk said. “I knew I wasn’t hurting our chances to win to bring in Russell to face the right-hander because the right-hander didn’t hit lefties well. I wasn’t putting the game in jeopardy. If it was in jeopardy, I would’ve had [Wood] face the right-hander. It was just right to do it at that time.”
– Carrie Muskat
How did Kerry Wood’s right arm feel Saturday on the first day as a retired ballplayer?
“Awesome,” he said.
Friday was Wood’s last game but on Saturday, he made it official, formally announcing his retirement in a brief and intimate ceremony at Wrigley Field. The Cubs pitcher delivered a long list of thank you’s, from his wife, Sarah, to his father to Ron Santo to former pitching coaches, managers and teammates.
“I’m excited for the future and I’m excited to watch what these guys are going to be capable of doing,” Wood said, citing young Cubs Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and James Russell. “These guys are starting the journey I’m ending today, and I’m looking forward to watching these guys grow and learn this game and ultimately bring a championship to the city that deserves it.”
And he thanked Cubs fans.
“This is home,” Wood said of Chicago. “This is why I came back. The fans, this stadium. [Friday] was the best weather day we had, this place was beautiful and rocking. That’s the way I want to remember Wrigley Field and that’s the way I will remember it.”
He was presented with a photo of him hugging his son Justin as he came off the field on Friday, as well as the flag that flew on top of Wrigley, commemorating his 20-strikeout game from May 1998.
“I was always a Cub, I’ve always been a Cub, and I’ll always continue to be a Cub,” said Wood, standing near the pitcher’s mound on Saturday, surrounded by the current team and manager Dale Sveum
What’s next for Wood? He’s not sure. For now, he’ll play with his kids. On Saturday, he could watch Justin’s Little League game.
– Carrie Muskat
I’ve covered Kerry Wood since he was drafted by the Cubs, and feel as if I’ve seen every one of his 1,582 strikeouts. His 20-K game on May 6, 1998, is still my favorite. What most people don’t know is that he was happiest that day because he didn’t walk any one. I’ve also watched most of his rehab outings, too. He is resilient (Ron Santo wins for being most resilient person). Wood went on the disabled list this year for the 16th time. Now, he only needs to use his right arm to carry his kids.
In 2000, we talked about strikeouts for my book, “Banks to Sandberg to Grace.” He said:
“I like strikeouts. They give you a little rush of adrenaline. And there’s days when I want to go out and get 27 ground balls if I can. But the days you go out, and you feel good, and you have good stuff, and you go 0-1 or 0-3 on a hitter – those are good days. I was talking to one of my buddies who’s a left-hander and not a strikeout pitcher, and I said, “When you get 0-1 on a hitter, what are you thinking?” And he said he never thinks about strikeouts, even when he’s got two strikes on a guy. I go 0-1, I’m looking for a strikeout in those situations. And when I get two strikes on a guy, the majority of the time, I’m looking for a strikeout.”
Dayan Viciedo didn’t have a chance on Friday in the eighth when he fell behind 0-2 to Wood.
In ’98, he was National League Rookie of the Year with a 13-6 record and 233 strikeouts. He missed all of 1999 after needing elbow surgery. He returned as a starter, and in 2003, struck out 266 batters and was 14-11. His highlight that season? Hitting a home run in Game 7 of the NLCS against the Marlins.
Shoulder surgery sidelined him in ’05, and he would return in ’07 as a reliever. Wood took over as closer in ’08, saving 34 games – the perfect number – and helping the Cubs get to the postseason again. His two years in the American League gave him a chance to learn more about the game from Yankees superstar Mariano Rivera. And then he returned home in 2011.
Wood and I worked together last year on a book to be released later this month, part of a “Be All You Can Be” series for children. His message to kids was don’t give up, no matter what setbacks you’re dealt with. He knows. Wood thought about retiring before, when his arm was too high maintenance, but kept pitching because he loved the game. This year, it was too tough to bounce back.
As much of an impact as he had on the field, he was an even bigger presence in the clubhouse. The players know. I’ve watched him grow up from the gangly teen drafted by the Cubs in 1995 to the 34-year-old father of three who could still throw a fastball at 96 mph. But that was the last heater.
Rarely do players decide when to walk away. On Friday, Wood made the call, and it was the perfect ending.
– Carrie Muskat