It Was 20 Years Ago Today…

Today is the 20th Anniversary of Cubs’ pitcher Kerry Wood’s 5th major league start. Against the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field, he struck out 20 batters, a National League record. Watch Kerry Wood buckle Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell‘s knees on this third strike.

Kerry Wood strikes out Jeff Bagwell May 6, 1998

Kerry Wood strikes out Jeff Bagwell May 6, 1998

WC, of course, is a huge Cubs fan. There aren’t a lot of blog posts about them; when you’re afflicted with the Trump Administration, sports seem to matter just a little less. But some things about baseball are so marvelous – and triumphs by the Cubs so rare – that WC can’t resist marking this 20th anniversary.

It wasn’t a no-hitter or a perfect game. There was one hit – which maybe could have been scored as an error – and Wood plunked one Astro. There were no walks. But the fact was no Astro, all night, made solid contact with the ball. Alyson Footer and Carrie Muskat have a very nice feature article over at MLB.Com; it’s worth you time if you like the game.

Wood struck out the side four times; at one point he struck out five Astros in a row. It’s the most dominant performance by a pitcher in WC’s long memory of the Cubs.

So here’s to Kerry Wood <clink>, who 20 years ago today set a record that still stands: 20 strikeouts in one game.

What? Oh, sure, Cubs 2, Astros 0.