Kerry Wood holds a special place in my heart. Not just because he’s Kid K. Not because of his 20 strikeout game or his hometown discount or anything else related to his career or sentimentality.
It’s because we’ve grown old together.
He’s 2 1/2 years older than I am and made his debut the same year I graduated high school. If you bother to work out that algebra problem, then you’ll know we’re both old. In baseball years, it’s called the wrong side of 30.
I can remember when baseball players seemed postively ancient. Ryne Sandberg and Andre Dawson and Mark Grace were so OLD when I was a kid. Even Kerry Wood seemed old somehow even though he wasn’t that much older than I was and everyone was going on about how young he was. I thought baseball players would always be older than me (don’t ask me how my brain works, just know that it’s questionable at best).
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized the tables had turned. Actually, it was more like getting thrown from a barstool after a long night of drinking, but the end result was the same.
I was innocently going about my business when I read that Carlos Zambrano was the same age as my sister. My younger sister. I don’t know how I missed that. It must have happened during that brief period baseball and I were broken up. I was now OLDER than a Cubs player.
Further research did not make me feel better because, as it turns out, I’m older than several Cubs players.
Starlin Castro is only a year older than my baby step-brother whose diapers I used to change. This makes me want to put doilies on things.
Of everything in my life, all of the milestones, it’s THIS that makes me feel old.
That’s why I cling to players like Wood, Dempster, Hill, Soriano, Byrd, Ramirez, Pena, Silva, Grabow, Fukudome, and the like. We can all shake our canes together for now.
And I don’t feel quite so old.