Where does Wood's 20-K start rank in baseball history?

Where does Wood's 20-K start rank in baseball history?
May 19, 2012, 5:42 pm
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White Sox starter Jake Peavy's watched the game three or four times. And he considers Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game on May 6, 1998 against Houston as one of the greatest ever.

"For big-league players to not be able to hit the baseball at all, it goes down as one of those games that has to be one of the best ever pitched in the major leagues," Peavy said Friday.

That's not hyperbole. It's arguably the greatest start thrown in the last 92 years.

Wood's game score of 105 ranks as the 32nd-best since 1920, when the live ball era began. But digging deeper reveals his outing was better than that ranking.

There have been 79 instances of a starter having had a game score of 100 or more in a start since 1920. But in only nine of those starts did the starter throw exactly nine innings, and eight of those starts had a game score of either 101 or 100. The only one that was higher?

Wood's 20-strikeout game against Houston. That game score of 105 is the highest of any nine-inning start since 1920.

In terms of sheer dominance, nobody in the last 92 years has touched Wood's start.

And as many will point out, the one hit Wood allowed was barely a hit -- if third baseman Kevin Orie comes up with a play, Wood winds up throwing a perfect game.

And really, Wood's game score doesn't do justice to how he pitched on that early May afternoon. It was simply the most dominant a pitcher has been in a major league game since Babe Ruth revolutionized the game nine decades ago.

If we had numbers going all the way back to the 1870s, too, we may find that it was the most dominant start ever thrown by anybody at baseball's highest level. And nobody may ever equal what Wood did.