On May 6, 1998 history was made at one of baseballs most historic ballparks Wrigley Field. The game was between the visiting Houston Astros and the beloved home town heroes the Chicago Cubs. Pitching for the Cubs that days was a young right handed pitch named Kerry Wood. Wood had made his Major League debut just one month earlier and was about to shock the baseball world.
In front of the crowd of 15,758 fans Kerry Wood was set to face an Atros team with former All Stars and a couple of potential Hall Of Fame Players. Players like Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio headlined the line up for the Astros that day.
Kerry Wood during his 20K performance in 1998. (Getty Images)
Wood struck out every player in the Astros line up at least once during the game. During his nine inning pitching clinic he gave up only one hit and his Cubs committed no errors. When the smoke cleared Wood had thrown a record tying 20 strike outs. The crowd was electrified from the excitement of this rare accomplishment.
Kerry Wood went on to have a respectable career with Cubs, Indians and the Yankees. He had two stints with the Chicago Cubs and in the last half of his career was a closer. He played his final game on May 18, 2012 with the Cubs, 14 years after making history. He became the 1998 National League Rookie Of The Year and a two time All-Star (2003, 2008). Wood retired with a career record of 86-75 , 3.67 and 1,582 strike outs.
Kerry Wood saying goodbye to the Wrigley Field crowd in his final game on May 18, 2012. (Getty Images)
The only other player to have struck out 20 batters in a single game was Roger Clemens, he did so in 1986 and 1996. Only Eight players have pitched 18 or more strike outs in a game. This record has not been matched or broken since Kerry Wood joined Roger Clemens on the top of this list.
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Marlins pitcher Anibal Sanchez during Thursday’s victory over the Huston Astros
If you have been living under a rock for the past two weeks here is a message for you, the Miami Marlins are on fire! The Marlins have won 9 of there last 10 games. They just came off of their best road trip ever taking 8 of 9 games during the trip. First sweeping the Giants in San Francisco, followed by a sweep of the Padres in San Diego and finishing the road trip taking 2 of 3 games from the Huston Astros. The road trip was the best in franchise history.
The pitching of Carlos Zambrano is probably one of the most surprising things to have happened for the team in the past 2 weeks. Zambrano recorded a complete game win earlier this week against the Astros. Many expected him to fall apart this year and pitch poorly based on his past in Chicago playing for the Cubs. He is showing all of the critics that he still has it and is here to stay.
Their other pitching stud Anibal Sanchez continued his winning ways picking up his 4th win on the road trip. He pitched a total of 14 innings with 13 strikeouts. Sanchez leads the team in strikeouts with 46 for the season. He has really blossomed over the years into a big time pitcher and he is still highly underrated.
On the offensive side of the ball the Marlins have come alive. Giancarlo Stanton snapped out of his funk blasting 5 home runs and bringing in 8 RBI’s on the road trip. Second baseman Omar Infante proved very valuable with 10 hits, 1 home run and 8 RBI’s. Infante is currently batting .342 for the season and does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. The offense was bright and really picked up the optimism of Marlins Nation.
The Marlins defeated the New York Mets on Friday at home by of score of 6-5. The Fish have been dominating most of the games they have played this past two weeks. The other games where they didn’t squash their opponents they have come back to win in the late innings.
The Marlins are going into their Saturday game against the Mets holding a record of 17 wins and 15 losses. They are only 3 games back from first place in the NL East. The lead in the NL East is currently held by the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves. That spot could be held by the fish in about a week if they keep up their superb play up.
The team started the season with a rocky first month. They finished the month of April with an under .500 win percentage. They received little production from power hitter Giancarlo Stanton, which was a huge and disappointing surprise. Their big time free agent Heath Bell was not pitching well from the closing spot and blowing games. Jose Reyes also had his problem in the form of getting hits. Things did not look great after the first month of baseball.
A new month brought new hope and a chance for redemption. And boy have the Marlins taken advantage of the restart in the form of a long road trip. I think this is the team that we were meant to see, and will continue to see for the rest of the season. They are finally heading places and the fans are getting excited about their prospects of winning. The goal for this season is taking the NL East crown for the first time in franchise history and surging through the playoff en route to their 3rd World Series title. The season is long and things could change, but I have confidence that what has happened in the last 2 weeks we will be seeing more of deep into the season. So there is only one thing to be said “NL East watch out the Fish are coming”.
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