Long time knuckleballer for the Boston Red Sox, Tim Wakefield, announced earlier today that he’s retiring from the game of baseball. You had a feeling that this news was coming, as Wakefield is fairly old for a Major League ball player, at 45, but I thought he’d at least last another season or so. Although ballplayers rarely play until age 45, the fact that Wakefield used his knuckleball as the primary pitch of his arsenal enabled him to extend his career due to the limited stress put on his arm. Wakefield’s retirement makes R.A. Dickey, of the New York Mets, the lone active MLB Pitcher with the knuckleball as his main pitch.
Tim Wakefield broke into the major leagues on July 31st, 1992 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. After a successful first season with the Pirates in which he went 8-1 with a 2.15 ERA, Wakefield quickly lost his stellar stuff as he went on to go 6-11 with a 5.61 ERA in the 1993 season. After spending most of the next season in the Minors (due to the poor 1993 season) the Pirates apparently felt he was a lost cause as they released him when the season was over. A mere 6 days after Wakefield was released by the Pirates he was signed by the Boston Red Sox. The rest is history.
CAREER STATS AND INFORMATION
Tim Wakefield had a great MLB career no mater how you slice it. He recorded his 200th career win on September 13rd of this year. 186 of those wins came in a Red Sox uniform, which puts him third all-time for Red Sox team wins, behind Cy Young and Roger Clemens who had 192 in their Boston careers. Of those 186 wins he achieved while playing for Boston, 97 came at Fenway park–second all time behind Roger Clemens who had 100 wins at Fenway. One stat that Wakefield leads in is innings pitched in a Red Sox uniform. Wakefield spent 3,006 innings on the mound as a Red Sox player–229 more than Roger Clemens who had 2,777. Wakefield was also part of the 2004 and 2007 World Series winning teams. So add that to his resumé.
A lesser known fact about Tim Wakefield, however far more important than stats, is how involved he is in the community. Wakefield was nominated for the Roberto Clemente award 10 times in his career, and won the award in 2010. Although Wakefield will never play another game at Fenway park, his involvement with the community is going to continue for years to come.
To sum it all up I’ll end this entry with a few lines from Tim Wakefield’s retirement press conference held earlier today:
This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do…..So it’s with a heavy heart that I stand here today…..and I’m sad to say that I have decided to retire from this wonderful game of baseball…..I have to thank the Red Sox fans. You are the greatest fans in the world. I have enjoyed every minute of every game I have ever played for you…..I was fortunate enough to play 17 years here. It’s been a great one. I’ve been very blessed.