Since his abrupt retirement early on in the 2012 season, I have heard some modest rumblings concerning whether or not the Chicago Cubs will choose to retire Kerry Wood's number 34. Since the inquiry has been breached, I thought it would be nice to take a look at whether or not we think this is something that should actually happen someday.
As is the case with most Cubs fans I presume, I love Kerry Wood. I loved watching him pitch, was always impressed by his attitude and off the field charity works, and just enjoyed him being a member of the Cubs organization. In light of the above, I wouldn't think it wrong to choose to retire his number, but as far as having the numbers and such to back it up, I'm not so sure.
While his numbers are little tough to decipher given that he spent the last number of seasons as a reliever, outside of his strikeout numbers, Wood's numbers don't really leap off the page. He has a career 86-75 record, never won more than 14 games (2003; 14-11), and has a career ERA of 3.67. While none of those numbers are bad, I don't suspect they would be good enough to have your number retired. Wood would undoubtedly be "worthy" of such an honor --especially given his off-field work-- but I feel like if everyone who made an impact in their organization had their number retired, we'd be playing with triple-digit jersey numbers.
Another aspect is looking at the other players the Cubs have chosen to honor with number retirement. To this point, the Cubs have six numbers retired: 10 (Ron Santo), 14 (Ernie Banks), 23 (Ryne Sandberg), 26 (Billy Williams), 31 (Ferguson Jenkins, Greg Maddux), and 42 (Jackie Robinson). While I hold a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Kerry Wood, I don't think his numbers add up to the men above. I don't doubt that his impact on the Chicago community measures up, but again, if every player that was active in the community had their number retired, we'd have a problem.
I guess the conclusion that I have come to is that I don't think the Cubs should retire Kerry Wood's number 34. However, I'd be the first person to be happy for him should the Cubs make the decision to do so.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, having lived in Illinois his entire life and having followed Major League Baseball throughout.SourcesKerry Wood StatsCubs' Retired Numbers
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