Kerry Wood Strikes Out Last Batter He Faces
Kerry Wood, who announced earlier today that he planned to retire following today’s game, struck out the last batter he faced in his career.
A great moment: Kerry Wood comes in and strikes out the last hitter he faces, and then walks off to a standing ovation –greeted by his son.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 18, 2012
Wood came to the mound in the top of the eighth to relieve Jeff Smardzija. He faced one batter, Dayn Viciedo, struck him out, and left the mound to a standing ovation.
Wood, 34, broke onto the scene in Chicago in 1998 when he posted a 13-6 record with a 3.40 ERA and 233 strikeouts in just 166.2 innings of work. He won the Rookie of the Year that season, but also gained notoriety for striking out 20 batters in one game.
Wood did not pitch in 1999 due to an arm injury, but bounced back from 2001-2003 as a major force in a Cubs rotation that featured him and fellow young hurler Mark Prior. During that three-year span, Wood collected 12 or more wins, posted an ERA below 3.66, and struck out at least 217 batters in each season.
The hurler’s arm injuries later returned and he was forced to become a relief pitcher for the remainder of his career. Last year for Chicago, Wood posted a 3.35 ERA in 55 appearances.