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“He came up with as good of stuff as anyone who ever came into this league. You talk about (Stephen) Strasburg and the impact (Doc) Gooden had, the reality is Kerry’s stuff was better than both of those guys,” Stone said.

Kerry had the 100 mph fastball. He had an unhittable curveball. He had an unhittable slider. And that day in his fifth major league start he got them all over the plate. He didn’t walk anybody. It was absolutely phenomenal,” Stone said. “I think the hopes and prayers of the Cubs fans, seeing that, said this is a guy that’s going to rival Ferguson Jenkins. … But it was a fatal flaw in his delivery that was his undoing.”

Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija said Wood’s influence was heavy on him as he grew up in Indiana.

“I remember being a kid and my dad reading an article about Kerry working out in the pool and that’s why he threw 98 (mph). So my dad, the next day, has me in the pool kicking floaties around,” Samardzija said. “For a kid growing up in the Midwest, that’s what Kerry was to us kids.

“When we were coming up, that’s the dude you wanted to be. That’s how you wanted to throw.”


AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.