Retirement can be a dirty word for most uber-popular professional athletes. But Cubs’ recently retired pitcher Kerry Wood has a lot of bright ventures on the horizon. In addition to successfully launching a charity, The Wood Family Foundation, alongside wife Sarah, he has recently co-authored All You Can Be: Learning and Growing Through Sports, with MLB.com writer Carrie Muskat, a children’s book to pass on life lessons learned on the diamond. Michigan Avenue caught up with Wood at Wrigley Field to chat about the book, the foundation, and life after piling up strikeouts.
Of the many personal experiences you touch on in the book, is there one that really means the most to you?
KERRY WOOD: I learned so much from all of them, that’s why they’re all in there. Going through the [shoulder] injury and feeling good for a couple days, then feeling terrible for a couple weeks—that mental roller coaster was probably the toughest part, and the one I learned the most about myself from.
Do the injuries you’ve dealt with put the lives of the underprivileged kids you work with in a different perspective?
KW: I have goals and dreams just like everybody else. I had some roadblocks thrown in the way, [but] I think we all have roadblocks. It’s how we attack and perceive them, and what happens after that. I didn’t let the roadblocks get in the way, I kept my goals and dreams in mind, and did what I had to do to get through. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life, but when you get to the end it makes it all worth it.
What are some of the major events the Wood Family Foundation puts on?
KW: We launched [the foundation] last summer. We did a coat and toy drive at Von Humboldt Elementary School last year, we’re going to continue that every year; the Kerry Wood Strike Zone bowling tournament (coming up on June 27) is our big fundraiser for the year; we also have Back To School Backpacks: we’re giving backpacks and school supplies to 50,000 children in the Englewood area.
How is retirement treating you?
KW: I’ve been having fun with the family, enjoying a little fishing, catching up with some friends. It’s been great.
All You Can Be: Learning and Growing Through Sports is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other retailers. For more information on the Wood Family Foundation, visit woodfamilyfoundation.org.