During the beginning of his MLB career with the Chicago Cubs, Kerry Wood was one of the most feared pitchers in baseball. Had injuries not ruined his body, Wood may have gone down as one of the best pitchers in MLB history.
Before the 2007 season, Kerry Wood proved once and for all that he was cursed. Not only did he get hurt before the regular season started, but Wood injured himself in a very bizarre way.
Kerry Wood won the 1998 Rookie of the Year Award
The Cubs drafted Kerry Wood in the 1995 MLB June amateur draft. The righty made his MLB debut during the 1998 season and was a monster right away.
Not only did Wood win the 1998 Rookie of the Year Award, but he struck out 20 Houston Astros batters on May 6, 1998. The Cubs won by a final score of 2-0, with Wood pitching all nine innings without allowing a run. He only allowed one hit and walked zero batters.
Wood started 26 games as a rookie and finished with a record of 13-6. He struck out 233 batters and compiled an ERA of 3.40. The future looked extremely bright for the Texas native.
Unfortunately, Kerry Wood’s injury woes began during spring training in 1999.
Kerry Wood missed the entire 1999 season
During spring training in 1999, Kerry Wood tore his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). He underwent successful Tommy John surgery to repair the UCL’s damage in his right elbow and missed the entire 1999 season.
From 2000 to 2006, Wood appeared in 163 games for the Cubs. He had a record of 58-50 and struck out 1,066 batters. During the 2003 season, Wood made his first All-Star team and led the MLB in strikeouts with 266.
However, the 2004 season was a different story. Wood went 8-9 and was sidelined for nearly two months with a strained triceps. He dealt with several injuries from 2004 to 2008 and underwent multiple surgeries.
The Cubs converted Kerry Wood to a reliever near the end of his tenure in Chicago since his arm couldn’t handle being a starter anymore. While the hard-throwing righty made his second All-Star team in 2008, every Cubs fan will always remember what happened before the 2007 campaign began.
The two-time All-Star slipped getting out of a hot tub and hurt his stomach and chest
In one of the wildest injuries in sports history, Kerry Wood hurt his stomach and chest in February of 2007 after slipping at home while getting out of a hot tub. Wood and Cubs manager Lou Piniella tried to downplay the injury, but everyone in Chicago knew that Wood was cursed by the injury bug.
“It was just a little spill,” Kerry Wood said in 2007 about his hot tub accident. “I didn’t think anything of it. Nothing’s wrong. It’s just going to be a few extra days. My arm feels great. My body feels good.”
“Look, he’s going to be fine,” Piniella said. “Let’s not get carried away with this. We have all the time in the world in spring training. It’s just a little bruise, nothing more. It’s just a precaution.”
Wood pitched in 22 games for the Cubs during the 2007 season. He went 1-1 and racked up 24 strikeouts and 13 walks. Chicago made the playoffs but lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL Division Series in three games.
Kerry Wood finished his MLB career with 1,582 strikeouts in 446 games with the Cubs, Cleveland Indians, and New York Yankees. He recorded 86 wins and 63 saves.
Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.