Wood wants Cubs' new bosses to embrace players of past

The SportsXchange

On an otherwise lackluster Sunday, when the Cubs lost 6-3 to the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field, the more interesting story came off the field.

The Cubs staged an appreciation day for former longtime pitcher Kerry Wood, who retired in May but never got to say a formal goodbye to the fans.

Most interesting in what Wood had to say to the media was that he'd like to see some former Cubs welcomed back into the fold, including right fielder Sammy Sosa. He also mentioned Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, who was bypassed for the managerial job by both former general manager Jim Hendry and by new team president Theo Epstein.

"Hopefully, we'll get Ryno back," Wood said. "Actually, it wouldn't be a bad thing to see Sammy come around, too. He did a lot for this organization and a lot for this city. It'd be a shame for him not to come back."

Sandberg is managing in the Phillies' system after trying unsuccessfully to work his way up the Cubs' minor-league chain into the big-league job.

Sosa was a huge fan favorite until his messy departure from the Cubs after the 2004 season, when he clashed with then-manager Dusty Baker.

"Certain things ended certain ways, but it's a new group of people here," Wood said of both the new baseball-management team and relatively new ownership. "It's a new ownership, it's a new attitude. It'd be a shame to not have those guys be a part of it.

"Sammy and (Mark) McGwire pretty much single-handedly brought the fans back to baseball. Sammy did tremendous things for this city. We all know how he left and how it ended with him. But ultimately, that one mistake that he made at the end shouldn't determine his future here in Chicago."

Wood always was outspoken about how things were done during his two stints as a Cub. He remained popular in Chicago, so his words may carry some weight.

He also said he'd like to be involved with the organization in ways other than going to ribbon-cuttings and singing during the seventh-inning stretch. Wood has indicated that he would like to work with young pitchers during spring training and in season.

"We've kicked some ideas around, met with and talked to Theo about it," he said. "I definitely want to be around and definitely want to be involved. In what aspect, we'll figure that out probably this winter."
View Comments