Cubs' Kerry Wood Will Announce Retirement

Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Kerry Wood delivers a pitch against the Washington Nationals on opening day at Wrigley Field. Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

The Cubs' No. 1 draft pick in 1995, who came to stardom by striking out 20 Astros in his fifth major-league start, is retiring.

At one time, the headline and news of this article might have produced a nationally-televised news conference and thoughts about a spectacular pitching career.

But Kerry Wood, who struck out 20 Houston Astros in his fifth major-league start on May 6, 1998 and later helped pitch the Cubs to their first postseason series win in 95 years, simply had too many injuries to continue: Tommy John surgery, shoulder woes and back troubles sent him to the disabled list 16 times in his career, including once this season.

In the nine games he did manage to appear in this year, he was ineffective, walking 11 hitters in 8⅓ innings with an 8.64 ERA. Continuing to pitch with the injuries and ineffectiveness was apparently too much for Wood, so he is expected to announce his retirement from baseball Friday, about a month short of his 35th birthday.

Wood was the No. 1 pick of the Cubs in 1995, and was wildly popular among Cubs fans for the 20-K game, the 2003 playoff push, and his stand-up-guy attitude. It's sad that his performance never measured up to his popularity. He retires with an 86-75 won-lost record and 63 saves over 445 games (178 starts).

For more on the Cubs and Wood, please visit Bleed Cubbie Blue and SB Nation Chicago.

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