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Wood unveils foundation to help children

Wood unveils foundation to help children

Wood unveils foundation to help children
CHICAGO -- Kerry Wood has visions for a high school baseball stadium on Chicago's North Side and other projects as part of the Wood Family Foundation, which Wood and his wife, Sarah, launched Thursday.

The foundation will benefit children's charities throughout the Chicagoland area. Wood said some plans include teaming with the Cubs to potentially build a baseball stadium on the North Side for high schoolers, coat drives in the winter and school-supply drives. Wood has already funded a play room for the oncology floor of the new Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, scheduled to open in June 2012.

"Any organization that supports children in the Chicagoland area, we want to be a part of that," said Wood, who has two daughters, Katie, 3, and Charlotte, 1, and a son, Justin, 5.

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Wood will serve as founder and president, and Sarah Wood is the co-founder and executive director. The couple started a charity bowling tournament in 2001 that has raised more than $2 million for Children's Memorial Hospital and Project 3000, the charity of former Cub Derrek Lee. Wood has also donated to the Organic School Project.

"We've done a little over $2 million with just the bowling event since 2001," the Cubs pitcher said. "I think we want to go bigger, we want to go better, we want this thing to grow."

The foundation's first official event will be the sixth annual Kerry Wood Strike Zone Celebrity Bowling Tournament on Sept. 18 at 10pin Bowling Lounge and Hotel Sax at 330 N. State St. in Chicago. The event will feature other Cubs players and local celebrities. Tickets can be purchased at www.KerryWoodStrikeZone.org.

Wood plans on the foundation being active for a long time.

"This is something we've dedicated our lives to, especially after baseball is over," he said. "We're back here [in Chicago]. We're excited to be here for a long time and help out. ... For down the road, not just short term [but] long term, we're looking for this thing to go for years, to help out and make a difference."

Wood showed his commitment to the Cubs when he signed in the offseason for $1.5 million, considered to be a discount compared to what he could have received from other teams.

The announcement is as good an indication as anything that Wood plans to stay in Chicago. The non-waiver Trade Deadline is July 31.

"I know the talk [about a possible trade] is going to come," Wood said. "I've already been hearing it, so we can address it now. I doubt it. We're committed here. We've got an event in September. I don't see it happening."

Cubs manager Mike Quade respects Wood for wanting to stay in Chicago.

"I think Kerry said all he needed to say about his relationship with this town with his organization this morning," Quade said. "None of us wanted to go through what we've gone through here [in the first 81 games], but that didn't deter him and never has from the fact that he loves it here and wants to be a part of this.

"I just admire anybody who decides this is my home, this is what I like and I want to pitch for this club come hell or high water. Not many of us are in a position to do that. I've always been impressed by that. He'll be a big part of the second half, for sure."

Wood was drafted by the Cubs and pitched for them from 1998-2008 before signing with Cleveland as a free agent. He was traded to the Yankees last season before returning to the Cubs.

Alex Ruppenthal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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