Tim Wakefield, well known iconic knuckleballer and former Red Sox pitching staff member, who made a proud return to help the Boston Red Sox win their first World Series title in 86 years in 2004, has passed away at the age of 57.
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The Red Sox announced “Tim Wakefield” death in a statement on Sunday that “Tim Wakefield” had been suffering from brain cancer, a condition he had revealed on a podcast last week – a revelation that garnered an outpouring of support for Tim Wakefield. At the time, the Red Sox confirmed that he was battling an illness but didn’t disclose their further personal details.
More about “Tim Wakefield”
“Tim Wakefield”, who set a record for home runs allowed in college as a Pirates’ knuckleballer before converting to a pitcher, transformed himself into a franchise icon after toiling in the minors in the art of the knuckleball. Relying on the out of date pitch, which had become somewhat of a rarity, he won 200 major league games, including 186 with the Red Sox – trailing only Cy Young and Roger Clemens in franchise history.
But “Tim Wakefield’s role in the epic 2003 American League Championship Series against the Yankees changed him from a curiosity into a fan favorite, with an impact that far exceeded his numbers.
After rallying to tie Game 7 of the ALCS against the Yankees in New York in the 11th inning, “Tim Wakefield” came on in relief and hit Aaron Boone with his first pitch, ending Boston’s season and sending the Yankees to the World Series for the 6 time in 8 years. The Red Sox didn’t detail an illness at the time but said “Tim Wakefield” had requested for privacy.
The Pirates had converted “Tim Wakefield” from a position player, as he set home run records in the minors, into a pitcher, banking on the knuckleball. Harkening back to the days of old, when the pitch was largely useless, he won 200 major league games, including 186 with the Red Sox – trailing only Cy Young and Roger Clemens in franchise history.
The role of “Tim Wakefield” in the epic 2003 American League Championship Series against the Yankees changed him into a fan favorite, with an impact that far exceeded his numbers.
Former teammate Kevin Youkilis, broadcasting Sunday’s Red Sox game, said, “When he took the mound, he was a great competitor.” “He was a great teammate and a great friend. I was fortunate to play with him on the field and be around him in the clubhouse, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to have played with him and to have been around him for so many years.”
When did The Red Sox and “Tim Wakefield” won Game?
The Red Sox and “Tim Wakefield” won again in 2007.
Wakefield announced his retirement after the 2012 season, saying, “There were some years there when I didn’t know if I’d ever come back or not.” “But I’m very grateful to be able to wear this uniform for as long as I did and to win two World Series for this great city.”
Tim Wakefield was 11-3 when he made his only All-Star appearance in 2009 and became the second-oldest player to be selected for his first All-Star Game, behind only Satchel Paige. He was 45 years old when he earned his 200th win, in September 2011, retiring his last six batters in a start.
He announced his retirement in the next spring training, seven wins shy of Clemens’ and Young’s franchise records, which have since been broken by Young. He said “I’m still a competitor, but ultimately, I think this is the best thing for the Red Sox. “I don’t think 7 more wins will make me a different person or a better person. So, my family needs me more at home, I think.”
An 8th pick by Pittsburgh in 1988, Tim Wakefield converted to a pitcher two years later in an attempt to revive his chances of making the majors. He received his call-up in 1992 and went 8-1 with a 2.15 ERA over 13 starts in the majors. After eight seasons with Pittsburgh, he was released by the Pirates through waivers following one more journey through the minors, and he was signed by the Red Sox six days later.
Wakefield struggled to regain his form in his second year with the Pirates, going 6-11 with a 5.61 ERA but after being placed on waivers through unrefined means, he was claimed by the Red Sox and signed 6 days later.
Wakefield rebounded to post effective campaigns again, starting the 1995 season 14-1 and finishing the year at 16-8 with a 2.95 ERA. After 17 seasons with Boston, he retired with 3,006 innings and 430 starts, second in franchise history in games and strikeouts.
In total, he was 200-180 with a 4.41 ERA.
Wakefield was an 8 time nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, given to a player for remarkable sportsmanship and community involvement, which he won in 2010. In a statement, Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “Tim was a multifaceted and dependable All-Star pitcher, a highly respected teammate, and a two-time World Series champion. He left an indelible mark on the New England community.”
Following his retirement, Wakefield became an analyst for Red Sox broadcasts and remained active in the team’s charity work.