Kerry Wood

Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano are on this year's Hall of Fame ballot

1120_zambrano_wood.jpg
AP

Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano are on this year's Hall of Fame ballot

Two of the Cubs' greatest starting pitchers are among the 33 names on this year's Hall of Fame ballot.

Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano, both longtime fixtures in the North Side starting rotation, landed on the ballot for the first time. Legendary Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa is on the ballot for the sixth year.

Wood accomplished one of baseball's all-time most impressive feats, striking out 20 Houston Astros on May 6, 1998, in just his fifth start in the big leagues. He won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1998 and was a two-time All Star in his 12 seasons with the Cubs.

Wood was a member of that stellar starting rotation in 2003, helping the Cubs to their first-ever NL Central title with a 3.20 ERA and a baseball-leading 266 strikeouts in 32 starts. Injuries, however, plagued Wood throughout his career with the Cubs, and after making those 32 starts in 2003 and 22 more in 2004, he started just 14 games for the remainder of his career.

Still, Wood is one of the most recognizable and celebrated pitchers in franchise history, No. 3 on the team's all-time strikeout list. Only 13 pitchers have appeared in more games with the Cubs than Wood.

Zambrano was also a part of that 2003 team in his third season in the majors. He spent all but one season of his 12-season big league career with the Cubs, making 282 starts and three All-Star teams. He finished in the top five in NL Cy Young voting three times: in 2004, 2006 and 2007. The 2004 campaign was Zambrano's finest, as he posted a 2.75 ERA in 31 starts for a Cubs team that nearly made a repeat trip to the postseason.

Zambrano had a famously hot temper and earned as many cheers for his on-field antics as he did for his pitching prowess. While some of those memorable blow-ups might resonate with fans a little more in the long run, he's one of the franchise's greatest pitchers ever, No. 2 on the team's all-time strikeout list, behind only Fergie Jenkins, and No. 15 on the wins list. Only seven pitchers have started more games in a Cubs uniform than Zambrano.

Statistically, Sosa seems like a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame, No. 9 on baseball's all-time home runs list with 609 dingers and the only player ever to have three 60-homer seasons. But it has been difficult for him to get votes from the writers. He received just 8.6 percent of votes last season. To be elected to the Hall of Fame, a player needs to appear on 75 percent of ballots.

Two other ex-Cubs, Fred McGriff and Jamie Moyer, are also on this year's ballot.

Chris Sale broke Kerry Wood's strikeout record

Chris Sale broke Kerry Wood's strikeout record

Chris Sale is now the most strikeout-ingest (we're creating a new word) pitcher in Major League Baseball history.

He's even more strikeout-inger (see?) than Kerry Wood, who previously held the record of accruing 1,500 career whiffs in only 1,303 innings.

With 11 strikeouts of the Blue Jays Tuesday night, Sale reached his 1,500 K in only 1,290 innings, beating Wood by a whopping 13 innings, or 39 outs.

[RELATED: Stephen Strasburg just tied Kerry Wood's prestigious MLB strikeout record]

Sale now has 1,508 strikeouts in 1,295.1 innings in his career. In 2017, the former White Sox southpaw has 264 whiffs and the calendar hasn't even flipped to September yet.

He is on pace for 324 strikeouts, which would be the most since Randy Johnson K'd 334 batters in 2002. Only Clayton Kershaw (301 Ks in 2015) has topped the 300 mark in the last 15 years.

Wood's career was over shortly after he notched his 1,500 strikeout. He finished with 1,582 whiffs in 1,380 innings.

Former Cubs manager Don Baylor has passed away

Former Cubs manager Don Baylor has passed away

Don Baylor has passed away at the age of 68. 

The former Cubs manager died early Monday morning after a battle with multiple myeloma.

Baylor skippered the Cubs from 2000-02, going 187-220 and getting fired during the middle of the '02 season (Dusty Baker took over the next year).

The 2002 Cubs disappointed after getting out to a 34-49 start under Baylor before finishing 67-95.

Baylor's 2001 team finished third in the National League Central, five games behind the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros for the division and wild card spot. That was the year Jon Lieber won 20 games, leading a pitching staff that included 24-year-old Kerry Wood, Tom Gordon as the closer and Kyle Farnsworth, Jeff Fassero and Felix Heredia in the bullpen. 

Sammy Sosa hit 64 homers for Baylor's squad in 2001, finishing second in NL MVP voting behind Barry Bonds and his 73 jacks.

Prior to his time in Chicago, Baylor spent six seasons at the helm of the Colorado Rockies, becoming the first manager in the franchise's history. He went 440-469 with the Rockies, including a trip to the postseason in 1995 and an NL Manager of the Year award that same season.

Baylor also was a heck of a player, racking up 28.3 WAR over his career in 19 years as a designated hitter and outfielder. He won the AL MVP in 1979 with the California Angels, leading the league in games, runs scored (120) and RBI (139).

Over the course of his career, Baylor hit 338 homers and stole 285 bases to go along with a .260 average and .777 OPS.

Baylor was highly regarded around the league even after he retired: