****BREAKING NEWS*** Kerry Wood is going to announce his retirement

May 18, 2012
On Friday Kerry Wood will announce his retirement. The veteran right hander has been battling health issues this season and has an ERA over 8. It is probaly time, but theres no question his presence in the clubhouse will be missed. On the occasion of his retirement, here is the profile I did of Kerry earlier this year:


On May 6, 1998, Kerry Wood made his 6th major league start and he would do something only one other pitcher had ever done up to that point, striking out 20 men in a 9-inning game. It was an incredible accomplishment for someone so young  and raised the bar so high that there have been times it almost seemed too high. Yet Kerry Wood has remained a down to earth, humble country boy to this day. 

After growing up in the same area that produced Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, Wood was drafted by the Cubs and arrived in 1998 amid a great deal of hype. 1998 would be a memorable year for the Cubs in general. Along with Woods 20 SO game, Sammy Sosa would be locked in an exciting home run battle with Mark McGwire all season. There would be a great pennant race, with the Cubs battling for the wild card  down the stretch. Wood  would win 13 games and the Rookie of the Year award. The Cubs would win the wild card, though Woods contribution in the play offs against Atlanta would not keep the Cubs from losing in 3 games. After the season, however, Woods unconventional mechanics would force him to have surgery that caused him to miss the entire 1999 season. Ever since then there has been a debate as to whether manager Jim Riggleman overworked the young pitcher, however if you were to carefully watch Woods unusual style you would have to question whether it was the pitcher himself.  After a tough 2000 season Wood would return to win 12 games in 2001 and 2002, then in 2003 he would come into his own in helping to lead the Cubs to a division championship, winning 14 games and leading the NL in SOs. Wood played in key role in getting the Cubs to the league championship, however, he would also lose the 7th game that saw the Florida Marlins move on, despite a home run by Kerry. Over the next 4 seasons, a series of injury issues derailed his career as a starting pitcher. In 2007 he became a relief pitcher. In 2008 he became the Cubs closer and helped get the Cubs to the division title.

However, after being unable to help the Cubs get past the first round, Kerry made a decision that stunned Cubs fans by choosing to leave the team in free agency to join the Cleveland Indians where he pretty spent a year and a half struggling. But following a late season trade to the Yankees, Wood seemed to be revitalized and played a key role as a set up man in getting the Yankees to post season. Then following the 2010 season Kerry Wood was still debating where to go next when a tragic turn of events would lead him back to the Cubs. On December 3, Cubs icon Ron Santo passed away after an illness. Wood had grown close to the Cubs broadcaster and future Hall of Famer and decided to come back to Chicago for the funeral. Following the funeral, Kerry had a chance to talk to then GM Jim Hendry and Hendry convinced him to return to the Cubs. So Wood returned in 2011 and became the set up man for Carlos Marmol, though there were times it looked like Wood should be the closer instead. He was very effective in that role. 

Kerry Wood is one of those rare baseball stars who is clearly not interested in being in the spotlight and will give of himself in the community. His foundation raises funds for worthwhile charities and he has been known to go out in the community with his children to well known local eateries, like there is this diner near where I live in Des Plaines, Illinois that is called the Choo-Choo which is famous around the area for having a railroad theme with toy trains that serve food and I recently found out that Wood has visited it with his kids. Okay, its just a diner, but I think its cool that he thinks of himself as just another parent taking care of his kids. Like I said, he seems like a down to earth person and not just a baseball player. My guess is that he will retire soon and find a way to remain in the Cub organization much like Billy Williams and Ron Santo. Maybe he was not a Hall of Fame player, but he is truly a Hall of Fame person and we should feel lucky to have him.


Opening Day

April 5, 2012
Its Opening Day and Willie Smith quickly flashes in my mind. As far as Im concerned Willie Smith and Opening Day will always be linked. It was April 1969, I was 10 years old and playing in a field a couple of blocks from my house, my transistor radio in my ear. I loved listening to the radio in those days, especially WGN. I had just realized recently that WGN broadcast baseball games featuring the Cubs. I was not quite a full fledged fan yet. But as I stood around on the field watching my fri...
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A Mom who Never threw out my Baseball Cards

March 16, 2012
I figured since I did a tribute to my father on the anniversary of his passing, I might as well do one to my mom on the anniversary of her passing.
On March 15, 1999, my mother Susan Jane Halling Hanns passed away after losing a battle with lung cancer. She was just 6 months shy of her 60th birthday. Now my mom did not have the influence that my dad did in becoming a baseball fan(Im not even sure how much my mom really liked the game) but she did play an important role in my growing interest ...
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"Wrigley Field is a dump!" Revisited

February 24, 2012
Back in April 2011, Peter Gammons, one of the most well respected baseball journalists in the country, came out and called Wrigley Field a dump. I wrote a blog about my feelings about Wrigley Field and finished it by saying that  the issue would not go away anytime soon. Sure enough, last week a rumor surfaced that the Cubs would move to Cellular Field while Wrigley was being renovated. However the Cubs denied it by saying the renovation would take place over 4 winters and the team wou...
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Welcome to News and Notes

March 5, 2011
After doing some thinking, I have decided  to concentrate on making this a positive site and try to eliminate the more negative elements. By this I mean I want to maintain an honesty but I want to keep things more upbeat. I hope to be adding more features of interest. This week Ive added a book review. Check out the blog section for my review of Fred Merkle:Public Bonehead, Private Hero. I will also be adding more players to the Al Montreuil Hall of Obscurity. This month I feature Tony Kaufma...
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Last week, Peter Gammons called Wrigley Field a "dump". That has provoked a new round of discussions about the future of the ballpark at Clark and Addison. How do you feel about the issue? Take my poll on whether you think the Cubs should stay at Wrigley or should they build a new ballpark. This issue will probaly continue to be discussed in the coming years. Lets hear how you feel:

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