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The Heroes of Wrigley Series presents Kerry Wood

Pitcher Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs in action during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Diamondbacks 6-4.

In just his fifth career start, Chicago Cubs rookie right-hander Kerry Wood re-wrote the record books and built his Wrigley Field lore for decades to come.

A week before May 6, 1998, I had just celebrated my ninth birthday.  I started watching baseball maybe a year prior and was instantly mesmerized by the game.  I couldn’t quite understand what it was but something seemed to draw me in as nothing had before.

On this particular May afternoon, I could be found heavily wrapped up in my favorite Batman comforter, firmly planted on my living room couch, resting and exerting as little movement as possible.  I was sick, miserable with the flu and home from elementary school.

After watching the “sick day” classics, The Price is Right and reruns of Unsolved Mysteries, it was about time to tune into my new found passion.  I promptly changed the station to channel nine, WGN.

The Chicago Cubs were hosting one of their division rivals, the Houston Astros, in an early season game on a cloudy, overcast day at Wrigley Field.  I remember the Cubs broadcasters, Chip Caray and Steve Stone highly touting this rookie pitcher while he made his warmup tosses before the start of only his fifth career game.  The pitcher on the mound they were raving about that day was 20-year-old Texan right-hander Kerry Wood.

As I sat up to give my full attention to Cubs baseball, struggling to make my first movements or any sign of life in hours, I couldn’t have fathomed the history I was about to witness nor the impact this game would eventually have on as I was about to watch what would be my favorite Cub of all-time etch his name in the record books.

This would be the day I fell in love with the game of baseball.

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