Kerry Wood and What Could Have Been
Kerry Wood was going to be the savior. He was every great pitcher rolled into one. He was going to be the ace of the Cubs staff for years to come. Baseball pundits marveled at what the Cubs could accomplish with Wood and Prior heading up a rotation that also included a promising young right hander named Carlos Zambrano. As Cubs fans, we were on the verge of truly halcyon days.
Of course, the halcyon days never came. Wood and Prior kept company on the DL and Zambrano is currently in the midst of a meltdown, perhaps triggered by his own injury. And for Cubs fans, all of the years of futility just go on and on.
Looking at Wood today, it can be easy to forget the promise he held as a 20-year old fireballer. It can be easy to forget that at one time, he was the most promising pitcher in all of baseball. It can also be far too easy to forget that Wood is just a man. At one time, we expected Kerry Wood to be Superman. As it turned out, he had a super arm, but it was connected to an ordinary man who had physical limitations and was subject to the same laws of physics as everyone else.
Buzz Bissinger has written an excellent article about Kerry Wood and his struggles and his disappointing career. It makes for good, albeit sad, reading.