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10 Years Later: Looking Back on Kerry Wood's Career Since the 20-Strikeout Game

Katelyn GrabarekSenior Analyst IMay 6, 2008

Has it really been 10 years since Kerry Wood struck out 20 Houston Astros? 

In 1998, Wood was only the second pitcher to strike out his age.  Kerry was a bright and promising starter at the time, and he was being compared to a young Roger Clemens. 

He was a slider sure to fool hitters well into the future and anchor a solid rotation for years to come.

A young Kerry Wood took the mound on a drizzly May 6 afternoon in 1998 as a rookie making only his sixth start of his career.  He now holds 225 appearances in the major leagues.

Wood threw 122 pitches that day, and to some who saw the game or watched replays, it is said his "stuff" was unhittable.  Videos of his slider that day show a break that fooled all the hitters in the Astros’ lineup. 

Each Astro in the starting lineup struck out at least once. Wood is now the Cubs’ closer. 

Flash forward 10 years. 

Wood has faced many injuries in his tenure with the Cubs.  In 1999, he underwent Tommy John surgery that took him out for the season.  He has also had numerous shoulder surgeries that have kept him out of action.

When Cubs’ fans think of today's games, they think of hard to get tickets. 

Back in 1998, Wood's 20-strikeout game was seen by a total of 15,578 fans.  That's a small number compared to the near 40,000 Cubs’ fans that pour into Wrigley Field on a daily basis now.

Wood was a budding young star.  At the ripe age of 30, Cubs’ fans hope he can find himself as the closer of this team and lead them to the Promised Land once and for all—before the curse reaches 100 years.  

Wood will turn 31 on June 16.

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