|10 years later, Wood clearly remembers 20-K game|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 05 May 2008 14:55|
The Chicago Cubs closer remembers everything about the day he struck out 20 batters in his fifth major league start, joining Roger Clemens as the only pitchers to accomplish the feat.
Wood remembers how he felt warming up on May 6, 1998. He remembers how the strikeouts piled up. He remembers certain pitches he threw to certain batters. He remembers what he ate for dinner to celebrate.
``It was one of those days I just had it,'' Wood said Monday before the start of a series against the Cincinnati Reds. ``Very few days stick out like that.''
Wood was a 20-year-old rookie when he delivered one of the greatest pitching performances of all-time. He allowed only one hit, a third-inning single by Ricky Gutierrez, in a 2-0 victory over the Houston Astros.
When he fanned Bill Spiers in the ninth for his 19th strikeout, Wood tied the NL record. He struck out Derek Bell to end the game and tie Clemens' major league mark. It wasn't until after the game, when he was being interviewed, that Wood realized he had struck out so many.
Wood finished the 1998 season ranked third in the NL in strikeouts and won the league's Rookie of the Year award. He missed the final month with a sore right elbow, then had reconstructive elbow surgery the next April, starting a run of arm and shoulder problems that undercut his career.
``It's been a roller coaster of good, bad, indifferent - sometimes not even here,'' Wood said. ``I've experienced a lot in Chicago.''
Ten years after his greatest game, Wood is the Cubs' closer, something he never envisioned as a possibility when he was a rookie.
``I probably would have said, 'No chance,''' Wood said. ``Probably with somebody else at some point in my career, but not with the same team.''