Michael Jordan invited Kerry Wood to playoff game after 20-strikeout performance


Kerry Wood made MLB history 22 years ago today, tying Roger Clemens’ MLB record for strikeouts in a single-game (20) — also a rookie record.

One can imagine Wood’s phone blew up with congratulatory messages after the performance. In fact, those who reached out include none other than Michael Jordan.

“Jordan reached out after that game,” Wood told David Kaplan during a radio interview on Wednesday. “[The Bulls] were playing shortly thereafter — I think they had a playoff game and [Jordan] invited me to come to one of the playoff games that year at the United Center.

“I thought that was obviously really, really cool.”

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The Bulls and Charlotte Hornets squared off on May 6, 1998 at the United Center in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Wood told Kaplan he didn’t attend — he was exhausted from his own game — but met up with Jordan at a later date.

You can’t blame Wood for wanting to relax after a historic pitching performance. The Bulls lost that night 78-76, though they obviously went on to win their sixth championship in eight seasons a month later.

Wood added Clemens — his childhood hero — called him immediately after the game to welcome him to the 20-strikeout club. Jay Leno and David Letterman called the clubhouse to invite him on their late-night shows, too.

Talent recognizes talent.

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