Mark Prior just won't go away.
It's still hard not to look at him and think what if?
Prior was supposed to be the Cubs version of Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens, Jim Palmer or whomever else he was compared to.
He threw easy 90's and could put it in a tea cup. He had the build. He had ice water running through his veins. He had perfect mechanics.
As it turns out not everyone believed that hype. There were some whispers back at the beginning of his career of PED use, when his velocity noticeably climbed during his last two seasons at USC. There were some analysts who predicted doom upon examining his pitching delivery.
Whether it was the freak injuries or the usage of PED's, Prior fell apart all too quickly.
We can go on and on about the disappointment that was his short career. It just makes me wonder if he was the biggest let down in Cubs history?
When you think about it, is the let down that much bigger than it was when it came to Kerry Wood?
Wood has had a much longer career, reinvented himself as a reliever, and was a closer on a 97 win team.
However, think back to when Wood came on the scene in 1998, just like Prior in 2003, he was simply dominant.
Who had the bigger hype at the time? Its pretty close.
Just like Prior, Wood was compared to greats like Nolan Ryan, and Roger Clemens. Was it a coincidence the Cubs gave him Ryan's #34?
According to a former Cubs exec that I spoke to, there was one area the two were incomparable, dedication. He told me that while Wood was always trying to do anything he could to pitch during those injury plagued years, Prior was busy pointing fingers and lying in a hot tub.
Either way you look at it, we all thought one of these guys was our meal ticket when they first arrived. When injuries took Wood's promise, along came Prior and you never thought it would happen all over again.
But then again, you are a Cubs fan so maybe you did?
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