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Steve Stone recalls Kerry Wood’s career

From his game of near perfection to his most frustrating setbacks,

Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood in many ways personified his team—and fans’ feelings of joy and melancholy about it.

That is how longtime Cubs and White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone described Wood on Friday.

``I personally like Kerry Wood and I respect all the adversity he had in his career, because this game is one of attrition. In many ways, one of the reasons Cubs fans clasped onto him so tightly is exactly the way they have felt about the Cubs—the feeling he always should have been better. Everybody felt Kerry should have been better than he was.

``At times he was very good, but whether he won 13 or 14 games, he always should have been [Justin] Verlander or [Roy] Halladay. But his body never allowed him to.’’

Stone covered much of Wood’s career with the Cubs, which began in 1998 when he won National League rookie of the year honors, highlighted by his record-tying 20 strikeout performance against Houston.

``I called that 20 strikeout game, and one where he was shaking after the game because he had put so much into it. Never was there a team assembled that could have touched him that day [of the 20 strikeouts]—not the 1927 Yankees or anyone. That was the epitome of Kerry—and Game 5 against Atlanta [in the 2003 National League division series, the victory sending the Cubs to the league championship series.]

``The sad part is there was also game 7 in Wrigley Field in 2003 [when the then-Florida Marlins defeated Wood and the Cubs to win the pennant.] It’s that [dichotomy] that is so like what fans have felt about the Cubs—they should have been better.

``His natural ability alone was outstanding, but his body never allowed him to be what he seemed destined to be.’’

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