Cubs

Kerry Wood ends the debate: 20-strikeout game's hit was legit

Kerry Wood ends the debate: 20-strikeout game's hit was legit

While no one debates that on May 6, 1998, Kerry Wood completed one of the finest pitching performances in MLB history, Wood said Friday that the lone hit he allowed in his 20-strikeout game - that could have been ruled an error - was legitimate.

The rookie, making his sixth career start, struck out 20 batters, allowed just one hit and went the distance in a 2-0 Cubs victory. Wood needed 122 pitches to slice through the Astros lineup, which included a pair of future Hall of Famers in Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell.

But it's that lone hit - a seemingly meaningless Ricky Gutierrez single in the top of the 3rd - that some Cubs fans still debate to this day. Gutierrez, batting 7th, took a Wood pitch and grounded it in between third base and shortstop. Third baseman Kevin Orie ranged to his left on the well struck ball, and it caromed off his glove into left field.

Gutierrez got to third base on a sacrifice bunt and later on a Wood balk, though Wood got Biggio to ground out to end the inning.

There's some thought that Orie's stab at the grounder - a diving attempt could have stopped the ball - could have been ruled an error. It wound up being the only hit Wood gave up that day, and a ruling of an error would have given the 20-year-old a no-hitter.

But Wood, filling in Friday for Jim DeShaies on the CSN broadcast of Cubs-Brewers, put the debate to rest.

"Hit all the way, as soon as I saw it," Wood said. "Never crossed my mind that that was an error or they were going to give him an error. Never glanced at the scoreboard. It was a hit all the way."

There you go. Case closed.

Also, Wood was of course impressed with striking out 20 batters in a single game. But to him, walking zero batters on an Astros team that led the league in on-base percentage was what impressed him most. Check out the entire interview in the video above.

Cubs' Ian Happ: Anthony Rizzo looks 'absolutely wonderful' after weight loss

Cubs' Ian Happ: Anthony Rizzo looks 'absolutely wonderful' after weight loss

From the press box, baseball writers squinted down at the players taking ground balls at Wrigley Field Friday.

Was that lean first baseman really Anthony Rizzo?

“I looked at myself in the mirror when I got home with (my wife) Emily and I go, ‘I’m either going to gain 50 pounds or I’m going to get back into amazing shape,’” Rizzo said after the Cubs’ first day of Summer Camp.

Rizzo lost about 25 pounds over the baseball hiatus, training with quality assurance coach Mike Napoli.

“I was in really good shape coming into the spring,” Rizzo said, “and just me and coach Napoli were basically quarantine buddies the entire time. And we just held each other accountable every day, six days a week, we were going to get after it, we had our good routine, and I think it’s paid off. I feel really good for this year and for this sprint.”

Ian Happ, whose locker is next to Rizzo’s, said he watched his teammate try on smaller clothes Friday because everything from before his weight loss was too baggy.

“Nice to see him downsizing, and he looks absolutely wonderful,” Happ said. “His pop right now -- I don’t want to oversell it, but his pop right now -- he’s strong. He’s very strong.”

Rizzo began batting practice hitting everything to the left side of the field. A ground ball here. A fly ball there. But once he got his timing down, he started launching home runs over the ivy.

“Once we got on the field and we’re out there, it’s amazing how fast you can tune everything out,” Rizzo said, “and just be Anthony Rizzo the baseball player, when I’m between the lines.”

Remember when 'Hamilton' cast sang 'Go Cubs Go' after World Series win

Remember when 'Hamilton' cast sang 'Go Cubs Go' after World Series win

Broadway hit musical "Hamilton" became available to stream on Disney Plus on Friday, which serves as a fun reminder.

Remember when the Hamilton cast sang "Go Cubs Go" after the North Siders won the 2016 World Series? Like the Cubs finally snapping their 108-year championship drought, it actually happened.

The Cubs won the Fall Classic on Nov. 2, 2016, a dramatic 8-7 affair that went 10 innings and finished after midnight, Nov. 3, in Cleveland. The Hamilton Chicago cast performed the night of Nov. 3, and the Cubs' clincher presented a perfect way to round out the musical's curtain call.

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Hamilton star Miguel Cervantes put on a special rendition of the song, fitting for the moment:

"Baseball season's done today/We better get ready for a brand new day/Hey Chicago, what do you say?/We won the World Series yesterday." 

The cast didn't know some of the later lyrics but we'll give them a pass. Check out the awesome performance here:

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