I am sure we all saw that former flame thrower Kerry Wood retired last weekend.
Which is fine, I suppose, but somehow or other, there seemed to be a big fuss around Wood's final performance. And I wonder where celebrations like this started, and why Kerry Wood, who certainly tantalized, and then proceeded to essentially disappoint for ten years, got to be a big deal?
Wood did log a decent enough career, going 86-75, 3.67, with 63 saves over 14 years. Plus, he also logged an excellent 1582 strikeouts over 1380 innings.
However, only twice did he pitch more than 200 innings, which is pretty pathetic in the Rich Harden sense as a starter. And, after being injured in 2004 after 140.1 innings, he never tossed more than 66 innings again over the course of a season. True, when he did log 66, it was in 2005 as a starter, and Wood was then a reliever and at best average closer (his best year was 2008, when he went 5-6, 3.26 with 34 conversions), and really only managed two such years in that role.
Largely injuries were the problem, and which Wood did make a splash as a young fireballer, striking out 20 in a game and tying the record for that accomplishment in nine innings, that is pretty much it.
But, baseball is littered with fireballers with promise who were injured for one reason or another and had their careers short circuited. Herb Score, for example. Or Mark Fydrich. And, neither of them left the game with any fanfare.
Similarly, as I look at the Baseball Reference page on Wood, the arms he is compared to are Bob Bolin, Diego Segui, Moe Drabowsky, and Don Larsen: all decent enough pitchers with ok careers, but nothing worth stopping a game and bowing to.
Sadly, I think Wood's retirement was just another piece of the "what might have been" department, rather than the "look at what he did" one.
And, that does not really merit any more attention than it already got over the past 14 years.
Not that good.