Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles - [Chip Caray] We have a treat for you today. Youngster from Texas will take the mound. He is Kerry Wood. - [Pat] His name starts with a K, and you're going to see a lot of Ks in the score book. - [Jim Riggleman] Everybody was just in awe of what they were watching. - [David Kaplan] "You've got to turn this game on." Because we were seeing history. - [Pat] I'm just happy that I got to see it. - [Chip Caray] The 0-2. Got it. He's tied the record. - Those of you lucky enough to have witnessed this have seen something you might not see again. ♪ [music] ♪ - [Chip Caray] As Chicago natives would say, it was a typically beautiful early May day. It was cloudy. It was gray. It was misty. It was raw. - [Brian Garza] It was a weekday game in May, so you're not expecting a huge crowd inside the ballpark. - [Joe Mantegna] And in a way it's perfect that it was only about 15,000 people and it was kind of a rainy day. It was like, this is hardcore Cub fan day. We went out on the field before the game. Because of bleacher bums, I got to know some of the Cubs pretty well, like Santo, like Billy Williams. Some of...especially the old guard. And Billy was out there. He said to me, he says, "Well, you'd better watch this young boy pitching today, this Kerry Wood. He's something. He's got some fire today." - [Chip Caray] Big day today. The gunslinger Kerry Wood takes the mound. - [Carrie Muskat] First round pick, hard-throwing kid. There was always hype every time Woody would start. - [Ron Santo] Been around baseball a long time, and haven't seen a kid like this come up to the big leagues. - [Terry Adams] We were struggling a little bit and needed a guy, and they brought him up. - [Broadcaster] Three-two pitch. Struck him out. - [Terry Adams] Of course, you know, everybody was keeping tabs on this, game-to-game basis. - If you did have butterflies, you didn't show it outwardly. - [Kerry Wood] I guess I pitch a little better on nerves, I guess. The media attention, as a 20-year-old, it was uncomfortable. I mean, my comfort zone was on the field and on the mound. So it was a little bit overwhelming. - [Caray] I think that when a young guy comes up, you wonder, "Okay, just how good is his stuff?" And hitters usually tell you pretty quickly how good his stuff is. - [Broadcaster] His dad schooled him to be like Nolan Ryan in the leg kick and that whole thing, and he's followed Roger Clemens as well. - [Jim Deshaies] The whole Texas angle. But no one...Clemens had been pitching against the Astros. It was, like, a storybook kind of theme. - [Caray] Houston leading the Central Division with a record of 20 and 11. Here is Larry Dierker starting lineup. - These were the killer bees. I mean, this was a team that everybody heard about. - [David Kaplan] He's got to face Bagwell, and Biggio, and Derek Bell, and that team is loaded. - [Broadcaster] And they can hit. They can hit for power. They can run. The Houston Astros probably are the toughest task for any starting pitcher. - [Wood] I knew who they were, for sure. I just didn't know what that lineup together was capable of doing, which was probably a good thing. - [Broadcaster] Last night they ran at will. Today may be a different story. Sandy Martinez in the lineup today. - [Caray] He's one of the great trivia questions of all time. Who was the catcher that caught Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game? It wasn't Scott Servais, but it was Sandy Martinez. - [Kevin Orie] Anything, coming off the bench in baseball is probably the hardest thing, I think, in any sport, to do. - [Wood] I was the young guy. He was, you know, the backup catcher. Our starting catcher probably got the top of the rotation guy. - [Kaplan] Usually you're looking for chemistry with your battery mate, and they think alike, and, "Hey, we've got to face this guy, and we both know how we're going to get him out." They had never really done anything like that. - [Wood] Got out to the bullpen and started warming up for the game, and I don't think I threw one strike in my 40-something warm-up pitches. I grabbed the ball, and then turned to Phil Regan and flipped him the ball and said, "I mean, it can't get any worse." - [Caray] Jerry Meals, the home plate umpire, he may be a key man in this ball game for Kerry Wood. You talked about that a bit last night. - [Steve Stone] Well, I think it really depends on just exactly what strike zone Kerry Wood is going to get. - [Wood] I'd warmed up, like I said before, and didn't throw any strikes. And I figured I wasn't going to lay one in there. Just threw it as hard as I could. - [Caray] And the first pitch. - [Stone] That knocked the mask right off the head of Jerry Meals. - Sandy just misses it. - [Caray] Wow. That is some heat, folks. - [Jerry Meals] I was like, "What just happened?" You know, I was running through my head at the time, "What happened yesterday? Did something happen on the field that the Cubs are upset with me or something?" You know, I'm running it through my mind, "Do I need to run this guy?" - [Wood] I don't think Meals was looking for, you know, 98 off the face on the first pitch of the game. It kind of caught everybody off-guard. - [Deshaies] Oh, that is not going to endear Sandy Martinez to Jerry Meals. What a start. - [Billy Williams] The ball went all the way to the backstop. That ball went all the way to the backstop. And I said, "Man, he's throwing hard today." - [Caray] Two strikes. Got him with the heat. - [Stone] And Biggio swinging way late, and that's one of the worst swings you'll see him take. - [Caray] As the day, it continues, and he changes speed, so Bell strikes out. - The gunslinger ready, the two-two. Strike, three tall. He punched out the order in the first. That will do it for the Astros. - [Wood] So, even though I struck out a side in the first inning, I sat down and was like, "How did I just strike out a side?" Like, "What just happened? I didn't throw a strike in the first last 30 minutes, and I just struck out a side the first inning." - [Hughes] What an opening inning for Kerry Wood, striking out the side. Wow. - The fans still kind of buzzing after Kerry Wood banned Biggio, Bell, and Bagwell in the top of the first. - [Matt Erickson] I was one of the first ones into the bleachers that day. And this guy showed up. He's got this stack of Ks on the back of, you know, poster board, and ridiculously energetic, and kind of asking, "Who wants to hold up K signs and watch this kid make history?" You didn't have to follow the Cubs too closely to think, "Well, you're crazy, dude." But that's how I met Tom. - [Kim Corning] "Kerry, you have a tremendous career ahead of you, not only as a pitcher but as an influence on kids all over Chicagoland. Thanks for your time, Tom Bujnowski. P.S., I will have the K signs in the bleachers for your next home start." And he really did, but he didn't have enough. - [Jake Bujnowski] The Ks definitely were for Kerry. As a rational 24-year-old now, yeah, it's crazy that he made the signs for this one guy when he wasn't proven yet, you know? It was just, there was hope that he was going to be good. - [Broadcaster] Jack Howell is going to try to become the first man to make contact in this game. - [Erickson] I was the fourth K in the bleachers that day, and at that point I'm going, "This is fantastic. I'm going to get to hold one of these up without question," right? I mean, Jack Howell was my guy, the clean-up guy that day. - [Hughes] Here's the wind-up and the one-two, and Howell strikes out swinging. That's four in a row. - [Erickson] From the first out in the second inning all the way onward for the rest of the game, I was getting a workout. - [Hughes] Ronnie, we were wondering who has the record for the most strikeouts to start a game, consecutive strikeouts. Well, the Major League record's set by a guy in the press box today, Jim Deshaies. - [Santo] I'll be darned. - For the Astros. - [Broadcaster] Well, Jim's going to think this one over a little bit now. He's got seven. He's working on eight in a row to get this ballgame underway. This is amazing. Eight consecutive strikeouts. Every player is up on the railing applauding along with the crowd. Look at them, everybody. - [Deshaies] For a lot of folks, it was more of a curiosity. It was, you know, "How did that happen?" My fastball doesn't really record. It's not a, you know, real high, 90-plus fastball. But as long as it's working for me, I don't care what the number is. So, I started with eight in a row to start the ballgame. I finished with 10. I mean, you expend a lot of energy. So, you know, I went the whole game, but I only struck out 10. To maintain that stuff and to dominate hitters for nine innings the way he did, there's no comparison. You know, mine was kind of a neat thing and something I could always hang on to, and I had a real nice game. His is, you know, probably the most dominant game ever pitched. - [Broadcaster] Whoa, and he comes up and in for his fifth consecutive strikeout. - [Deshaies] That's one of the few times this year we've seen Moises Alou get beat by a fastball. - [Ricky Gutierrez] Moises was hitting in front of me. Always gauged my...a guy that I knew had good stuff and threw hard, I always gauged, you know, went to him. That day was probably the only day I've ever seen a fastball dominate him. - [Stone] And yet another strikeout. Five in a row. - [Gutierrez] That day when I asked him, "How's he throwing?" He just gave me a look, like... Then he said, "Good luck." - [Broadcaster] Six consecutive outs for Kerry Wood, but Clark kept the ball in play. Nothing-nothing. - [Caray] People who think pitching performances or pitchers' duels are boring, watch this game. You had Shane Reynolds matching Kerry Wood pitch for pitch. No quarter given, no quarter taken. I mean, these guys just went after each other, and it was unbelievable. - [Riggleman] Reynolds, I managed, you know, clubs against him in the minor leagues. I had a lot of history with him, and he was an extremely tough pitcher, and he was tough on us that day. But we scratched out one early. - [Caray] That's deep enough to score the run. Tagging from third is Grace. Cubs lead it one to nothing. - [Riggleman] Kerry just...he made that enough. - [Deshaies] He's given up an unearned run and probably thinks he can't allow too much more the way things are going. - And I'm sure Wood's thinking the same thing watching Shane Reynolds pitch, realizing that he's got to be at the top of his game to compete with Shane. - [Wood] It really kept me from getting caught up and focusing on the strikeouts, and it was a one to nothing game until the eighth inning. I would have hated to have been, you know, in his shoes that day, to have, you know, have a gem like that go to waste and get an L for it. But he was definitely locked in, too. - [Caray] An unearned run the difference so far. The Cubs lead it one to nothing. Ricky Gutierrez will lead off the Astro third. And he finally makes contact. - [Gutierrez] I was just trying to put the ball in play, you know? I had two strikes, so I was just trying to make contact, you know? Either fight off a fastball or, you know, and he was...he happened to throw a curveball at me. Probably the worst pitch of the game. - [Wood] It was a backup, bad breaking ball and just a dumb pitch. - [Caray] Long outing for it. To the left side, off Orie's glove into left field for a base hit. - [Wood] And it wasn't a good swing, and it wasn't a hard hit. It just found the hole, and... but, base hit all the way. - [Kaplan] And that turns out to be, like, "Oh my goodness, he could have had a no-hitter." And that one moment in time will always be linked to this 20-strikeout performance. - [Gutierrez] The two years I was there, I always gave him crap about it. I once told him, I said, "You'll remember me for the rest of your life." I said, "You'll remember that name, Ricky Gutierrez, for the rest of your life." He would just tell me, "Get outta here." - [Wood] He brought it up to me every day. Every day. Every time he walked by me, he would say something. I can't repeat it here, but he would say something. - [Gutierrez] It's always nice to go down in, you know, history with a guy pitching a great performance like that and you mess it up. - [Broadcaster] I'm not sure he got his glove on it. On that replay, it didn't appear that he did. At first I thought he had. - [Deshaies] Yeah, I thought he did. I'm surprised that's not an error. - [Orie] I thought I should have made that play. If I would have been, like, maybe, in a comfortable spot defensively to get that little extra angle or just commit to the dive right away. And worst case, you get up, you try to throw him out to be safe, and then you might have somebody say, "Why did he dive?' - [Erickson] I don't know where they got the poster board from, but the E-5 was really almost a lobbying to the official scorekeeper thinking, "God, if he sees this, maybe he'll change it." - [Orie] I came right in to the clubhouse. The media was everywhere. Right away I just said, "Hey, just give me an error. Let's just make this simple." They didn't. And so, so here we are. - [Wood] You know, I could tell he was physically...not emotional, but he was a little distraught and worried that it was going to be the only hit, and then when it happened, he was apologetic and wanted the error. You know, for him to come out and say "Yeah," you know, like, "Give me the error, give me... I want to..." You know, he should do that. But that's...it was a hit all the way. - [Stone] There's no doubt that Sandy Martinez is the best-throwing of the Cub catchers. He's got a quick release. He's normally very accurate. - [Caray] Got him swinging. Snap throw to first. - [Muskat] The guy who deserves some credit is Sandy Martinez. Here's a guy who hadn't caught him that much, and he's part of history. - [Hughes] You can hear Sandy Martinez's glove popping all the way upstairs. - Sandy did an excellent job behind the plate. Kerry obviously felt comfortable working with him. - [Wood] I liked his visual. I liked throwing to Sandy. I liked his energy. I liked the way he was... You know, there's a game between...there's a game within the game, as most people know.