Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, and Ryne Sandberg will go down has some of the greats to play for the Chicago Cubs. They performed greatly for the Cubs on and off the field. All three of them are in the Hall of Fame and have their numbers flying on the foul poles of beautiful Wrigley Field. These guys were very classy players who left everything on the field and worked their tails off every single game. They will forever be fan favorites at Wrigley. There are other guys who make this list, but I would think those guys are the top three. One other guy who will be on that list for sure when he retires is Kerry Wood.
Kerry Wood was drafted by the Cubs in 1995 and made his Cubs debut in 1998. In his fifth game in 1998, he struck out 20 batters of the Houston Astros and threw his first ever shutout. He went on to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Ever since then, Cubs fans fell in love with Kerry and the way he played the game. Wood had a great season in 2003 where he lead all of Major League Baseball in strike outs with 266. He has been an All-Star twice (2003, 2008).
Off the field Kerry Wood started a foundation to benefit children’s charities in the Chicagoland area. It is called the Wood Family Foundation and you can check it all out at www.woodfamilyfoundation.org
Kerry Wood has been with the Cubs since 1995, but 2009 things were different. Wood was no longer a Cub. For whatever reason Jim Hendry did not re-sign Wood after the 2008 season and Wood went on to sign with the Cleveland Indians. At the trade deadline of 2010, Wood was traded to the Yankees where he played for his former Cubs teammate Joe Girardi. Wood became the setup man and went 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in 24 appearances with the Yankees. In the off-season, Wood re-signed with the Cubs on a smaller contract than what some of his other offers were. In 2011, Wood had 57 strike outs in 51 innings and posted a 3.35 ERA. Unfortunately, his season was cut short with an injury, but he said, “I’m hoping the Cubs want me back next season. My commitment is to the Cubs. And although I still want to pitch, if they don’t want me back, then I’ll retire.”
Things have changed since then though. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are now in control of the team and not Jim Hendry. Though the front office looks different, they have said that they want Woody back. GM Hoyer said, “We continue to want Kerry back in Chicago,” However, as of late it seems like a Kerry Wood return might not happen.
Wood has gained interest from Playoff contending teams and though the Cubs are in a rebuilding mode, Wood would much rather be with the Cubs. The thing is, he took a home discount price to return in 2011 and doesn’t want to do that again. Wood is wanting to get around 4 million this season and it appears the Cubs aren’t willing to pay that. GM Jed Hoyer said, “We both [Him and Theo Epstein] understand the history of the organization and which players mean a lot to the fan base and Kerry is one of them,”
So if they understand how important Kerry Wood is to us Cubs fans, and that Woody wants to play here, then what is the hold up? Kerry Wood is worth what he is asking for and the Cubs must give him that so he can return. The decision on where Kerry Wood will play in 2012 will be announced Friday, which is the first day of the Cubs Convention, so maybe something special will happen there?
I hope so.