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Pair of Cubs legends latest to be inducted into team Hall of Fame

1 month agoAndy Martinez and Tony Andracki

A pair of Cub favorites are being forever enshrined in the team’s history.

Kerry Wood and Aramis Ramírez are the newest inductees to the Cubs Hall of Fame as announced Friday at the opening ceremonies of Cubs Convention. Wood and Ramírez were elected by a panel for their achievements and contributions to the organization. The two will be enshrined in the Cubs Hall of Fame, located underneath the left field bleachers at Wrigley Field, later this summer.

The high honor came as a surprise to both players, who found out mere moments before walking across the stage in front of Cubs fans at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. 

The Cubs included the oldest son of both Wood and Ramírez in the Hall of Fame video, but both boys were able to keep the secret from their dads.

“They played it off well,” Wood said. “I had no idea. My kids kept it quiet somehow. I found out right before we walked up on the steps.

“I was just trying to clean the tears off quick. The both of us. When the boys started talking, we were like, oh. You’re just so caught off guard. You’re listening to the video and then you hear your son’s voice and it’s like, oh. It’s trying to compose it before you go out. I didn’t know if we were going to have to talk or what was going on.

“It was just trying to keep composure and listen to the video and watch it and take it all in. It was obviously special to do that here and being in front of Cubs fans here at the Cubs Convention is obviously always fun.”

Ramírez was at home in the Dominican Republic when his agent called to tell him they need to go to Chicago but couldn’t say why. 

Shortly after he found out he would be immortalized in Cubs history forever, Ramírez was out on the stage in front of thousands of cheering Cubs fans. 

“That’s hard to put into words,” Ramírez said. “It’s just an honor. I was surprised. I didn’t know what was going on.”

[WATCH: Catch all of the coverage from the 2024 Cubs Convention]

Wood, the Cubs’ first round pick in 1995, dazzled fans during his rookie campaign in 1998. The righty famously struck out 20 Astros in a 1-hit, complete game shutout on May 6 at Wrigley Field en route to winning Rookie of the Year honors. Wood finished that campaign 13-6, with a 3.40 ERA and 233 strikeouts in 166.2 innings. He led baseball in K/9 ratio, striking out a whopping 12.6 hitters per 9 innings.

Wood suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in Spring Training the next season, which would cause him to miss the entire 1999 campaign. He returned in 2000 but struggled to recapture his rookie-of-the-year level. In 23 starts, he was 8-7 with a 4.80 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 137 innings.

The Texan bounced back the next three seasons, posting ERAs below 3.66, culminating in the Cubs’ 2003 season that fell a game short of the World Series. Wood, along with Carlos Zambrano and fellow first-round pick Mark Prior, formed a three-headed monster atop the Cubs’ rotation that season. The trio went 45-28 with a 2.91 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 679 strikeouts in 2003.

Wood was 2-1 in 4 games in that playoff run. He started Game 7 of the NLCS and hit a 2-run home run in the 2nd inning that tied the game at 3.

He struggled with injuries the next three seasons. He pitched 140.1 innings in 2004 but was limited to just 66 and 19.2 innings in 2005 and 2006, respectively. He switched to a relief role ahead of the 2007 season and was able to extend his career. In 2008, he was the Cubs closer on the NL Central winning team, saving 34 games.

Wood spent 2009 and the beginning of 2010 with Cleveland before being traded to the Yankees to be their setup man in front of Hall-of-Famer Mariano Rivera. He returned to the Cubs in 2011 and retired in 2012 after striking out Dayán Viciedo in a Crosstown Classic game against the White Sox at Wrigley Field. His son, Justin, came out to the field to greet him as he exited.

Ramírez was acquired in July 2003 from Pittsburgh and had an instant impact in the Cubs’ pennant chase. The Dominican clubbed 15 home runs in 63 games and hit the first playoff grand slam in Cubs history in Game 4 of the NLCS. Ramírez had 3 home runs in the NLCS with 7 RBI.

“It means a lot,” Ramírez said. “I love the Cubs. I think I had the best years of my career with the Cubs. Love the city. My family loved the city. Love the fans. It couldn’t end up any better for me to be a Cub Hall of Famer.”

The righty would go on to be a fixture at the hot corner for the Cubs for the rest of the decade. Ramírez would hit 30 or more home runs in his next three seasons. Ramírez hit .301 and had 31 home runs in 2005, forming a potent 1-2 punch with first baseman Derrek Lee.

One of Ramírez’ most memorable moments as a Cub came in 2007, when he hit a walk-off, 2-run home run against the Brewers that capped a 5-run comeback win en route to winning the first of back-to-back division crowns.

Ramírez’ second All-Star campaign came in 2008, when he hit .289 with 27 home runs and 111 RBI. In his 9 seasons with the Cubs, Ramírez hit 239 home runs with 806 RBI and a .294 batting average.

After the 2011 season, where he was the NL Silver Slugger winner at third base, Ramírez signed a 3-year deal with Milwaukee. He played out 2-and-a-half-seasons of the contract before being traded back to the Pirates, who were mounting a pennant chase in 2015. His final at-bat in the majors came in the NL Wild Card Game against the Cubs, where he grounded out for an inning-ending double play against Jake Arrieta.

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