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Wood, Zambrano named to first HOF ballot

Pitchers join slugger Sosa, who is eligible for sixth year
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Kerry Wood, who struck out 20 in one game his rookie season, and Carlos Zambrano, who threw a no-hitter in 2008, are among the first-time nominees on the Hall of Fame ballot, released Monday.

The Hall of Fame election announcement will be Jan. 24 at 5 p.m. CT on MLB Network. To gain election, nominees have to appear on at least 75 percent of ballots submitted by Baseball Writers' Association of America voters.

CHICAGO -- Kerry Wood, who struck out 20 in one game his rookie season, and Carlos Zambrano, who threw a no-hitter in 2008, are among the first-time nominees on the Hall of Fame ballot, released Monday.

The Hall of Fame election announcement will be Jan. 24 at 5 p.m. CT on MLB Network. To gain election, nominees have to appear on at least 75 percent of ballots submitted by Baseball Writers' Association of America voters.

Complete Hall of Fame coverage

Wood finished his 14-year career with an 86-75 record and a 3.67 ERA, pitching 12 seasons with the Cubs from 1998-2008 and again from '11-12, plus two with the Indians ('09-10) and one with the Yankees ('10).

In his fifth big league start on May 6, 1998, Wood tied a Major League record when he struck out 20 Astros, giving up one hit in a 2-0 win at Wrigley Field. He did not walk a batter. That year, Wood went 13-6 and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

Video: 5/6/98: Wood fans 20

However, Wood missed the 1999 season because of Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and he eventually made the switch to the bullpen in 2007. In '08, he was the Cubs' closer with 34 saves. A two-time All-Star, Wood led the NL in strikeouts in '03 (266). Now 40, he is active with the Wood Family Foundation, which works to improve the lives of children in Chicago.

Zambrano went 132-91 with a 3.66 ERA in his 12-year career, pitching from 2001-11 with the Cubs and finishing with one season with the Marlins in '12. A three-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Zambrano led the NL with 16 wins in '06 and was the only NL pitcher to win at least 13 games each year from '03-08.

On Sept. 14, 2008, the Cubs and Astros played at Miller Park in Milwaukee in a game moved because of damage in Houston after Hurricane Ike. Zambrano threw the first no-hitter by a Cubs pitcher since Milt Pappas did so in September 1972. Big Z struck out 10, walked one and hit a batter in the win.

Video: Zambrano strikes out Erstad for the last out

Zambrano was the Cubs' Opening Day starter six consecutive seasons and was a standout at the plate, hitting 24 home runs in his career. In 2008, he batted .337 with four doubles, one triple, four homers and 14 RBIs.

Wood and Zambrano, 36, join Sammy Sosa as Cubs representatives on the Hall of Fame ballot. This is the sixth year for Sosa, who received 8.6 percent of the votes last year -- his second-highest total since he was first eligible in 2013 and received 12.5 percent.

Sosa won the NL Most Valuable Player Award in 1998, when he slugged 66 homers and drove in a league-leading 158 runs. He is the only player to hit at least 60 homers in three seasons, doing so in '98, '99 and 2001. A seven-time All-Star, Sosa played 13 seasons with the Cubs, three with the White Sox, two with the Rangers and one with the Orioles.

Now 49, Sosa ranks ninth all-time with 609 home runs and holds the Cubs' record for most career blasts (545).

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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