Watch Kerry Wood strike out a record 20 batters on the game's anniversary

David Banks

Strikeouts keep going up, but no one has topped Wood yet.

On May 6, 1998, a 20-year-old Cubs rookie took the mound against the Houston Astros. Offense was nearing all-time highs in the late-90s, but Kerry Wood would have none of that, limiting the 'Stros to a single hit while striking out 20 of them to tie the record held by Red Sox great Roger Clemens.

Thanks to living in the future, we can watch the entire game on MLB's Classics page on YouTube:

If you don't have two hours to kill today, then you can at least watch the record-tying strikeout against Derek "Operation Shutdown" Bell, which is also a record-breaking K since it set the National League mark:


It's Kerry Wood and it's the 90s, so we can't escape the pitch count discussion. Thankfully, in this one contest, things weren't that bad in a relative sense, so you don't have to feel like his sticking it out somehow taints his performance. Wood threw 122 pitches in his complete-game effort, but that wasn't even close to the most he would toss in a game at his tender age. He had five starts with more pitches than that in his 26 appearances, with August 26 coming in at 133, and he averaged 109 per start on the season. This one game didn't ruin Wood, but it was part of a larger scale problem that pushed him out of the rotation for good before he even hit free agency for the first time.

None of that takes away from how dominating he was for these nine innings, though, and you can watch them again and again without fear of MLB taking it down since it's their own video.

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