Sports
Sports

Job security has Kerry Wood, party guests feeling good

The tips collected at Kerry Wood’s charity event at Harry Caray’s Tavern at Navy Pier Friday went straight to the Wood Family Foundation, which might explain why the Cubs and Bears players working the “Woody’s Winter Warm-up” benefit seemed determined to earn gratuity by any means necessary.

The Cubs’ Randy Wells served drinks behind the bar and at one point allowed a middle-aged woman to stuff a $5 bill down the front of his collar. Former Bear Otis Wilson also got behind the bar but seemed to earn his biggest tips when he allowed guests to try on his Super Bowl ring from the triumphant 1985 team.

Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein didn’t pour any drinks, but he seemed to pose for as many photos with guests as anyone else. He also showed off his guitar skills when he joined “Hey There Delilah” band Plain White T’s on stage to perform Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Wells opted to play Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” with Plain White T’s.

The experience was likely a thrill for Plain White T’s lead singer and Elmhurst resident Tom Higgenson.

“My Dad would have the (Cubs) game on in the house every day in the summer,” Higgenson told me, adding that he is raising his son as a Cubs fan as well. “We already got him his first little Cubs hat. He’s already on his way.”

Also in attendance was former The Academy Is … frontman William Beckett, who performed earlier in the night, the Cubs’ Ryan Dempster, who hosted his own charity event for his Dempster Family Foundation the night before at D’Agostino’s in Wrigleyville, and the Bears’ Israel Idonije, who poured wine for guests.

The star of the evening, of course, was Wood. The 34-year-old pitcher has been a fan favorite ever since he made his Cubs debut in 1998, and it showed in the turnout Friday (about 400 guests were on hand for the benefit, which raised more than $80,000 for Wood’s children-focused charity). It appeared Wood’s future with the Cubs was in jeapordy in recent months, but fans officially received word at Friday’s Cubs Convention that he would be brought back for another season.

Did Wood ask Epstein if he could break the news himself at his charity event?

“No,” Wood told me. “I was just trying to get a job.”

The guests at Harry Caray’s were clearly excited about that day’s news and told Wood so throughout the night. When Wood was behind the bar serving drinks, one nearby fan used the opportunity to congratulate him on the new contract.

“Thank you, thank you,” Wood said before looking into the crowd and yelling, “Anybody need a drink?”

Twitter @aboutluisgomez

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • 2012 Cubs Convention photos

    2012 Cubs Convention photos

    All the action from the yearly fan festival MORE: Personnel breakdown of Cubs organization | More Cubs player photos Send in your Cubs fan photos

  • Interview: An evening with Kerry Wood at the barber shop

    Interview: An evening with Kerry Wood at the barber shop

    Before making the final media rounds to promote his “Woody’s Winter Warm-Up” benefit, the Cubs’ Kerry Wood stood in the waiting area of the posh 316 Club Barber Spa last week — where he would receive a haircut and shave — and gave me a reality check on his famous 20-strikeout performance. The 34-year-old...

  • Yep, I took my dad to Lollapalooza

    I suppose I should be old enough to know by now that something doesn't become un-cool just because your parent is there.

  • Lollapalooza style portraits

    Lollapalooza style portraits

    Concertgoers pose at the three-day fest in Grant Park.

  • Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    And just like that, there’s only one day left of Lolla. Here’s what stood out to us from day 2. Best: The Tallest Man on Earth: Maybe it was just a right-mood, right-set situation, but boy this was the perfect mid-day act to take a breather, sit in the sun, and just chill and listen to and enjoy....

  • 50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    Shots in The Dark at Parliament Nightclub with 50 Cent and The Underground Nightclub with Wyclef Jean and Joey Fatone July 31st

  • Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    One day down! Here’s the best and worst we saw at Lolla on Friday, plus a few superlatives from day 1. Best: Anyone who knows me knows I was bound to pick Paul McCartney as my favorite act of the day. The Beatle came out and gave it his all with more than two hours of hits, tributes and jokes about...

  • Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    What can you really say about Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, pop music pioneer, worldwide cultural icon, and all-around great guy, that hasn't already been said? I mean, seriously. With the Beatles changing music for the better, becoming a pop culture institution and being "more popular...

Comments
Loading
69°