01/18/09 9:28 AM EST
Wood thanks fans in Chicago papers
On last day of Cubs Convention, pitcher says goodbye in ads
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Wood spent his entire career with the Cubs since he was a first-round pick in the 1995 Draft but left via free agency this offseason and signed a two-year deal with the Cleveland Indians. He timed the ad to run during the winter fan fest, the Cubs Convention, which wraps up Sunday at the Chicago Hilton.
"It has been an honor to have been a Chicago Cub for the last 13 years and to have played in the greatest ballpark, Wrigley Field," Wood said in the ad in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. "My deepest thanks go to my teammates and the Cubs organization for taking a chance on a kid from Texas and welcoming me into the Cubs family.
"Thank you Cubs fans, the greatest fans in all of baseball, for believing in me and supporting me over the years," he said. "I will always be proud to have been a Chicago Cub. Although I'm a member of a new 'Tribe,' I will forever be a Chicagoan."
The statement is then signed by Wood. The ad includes a photo of Wood from the day he first signed on July 28, 1995, from his time with the Daytona Cubs, from his 20-strikeout game May 6, 1998, and from this past season.
Wood, who got the nickname "Kid K" from that May game against the Houston Astros when he tied a Major League record, had tried to stay with the Cubs in 2009. He was coming off his first season as the team's closer, a switch prompted after nagging shoulder injuries.
On Saturday, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Wood's agents wanted a three-year deal and significant salary. Hendry said Wood was on the disabled list for 62 percent of the Cubs games over the last four years and that last season's blister problem "was one of the strangest injuries of all time."
Hendry said he didn't feel the length of contract that Wood's agents were seeking was fair to the team and disputed Wood's contention that he would've stayed for a one-year deal.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.