Tim Wakefield announced his retirement from baseball earlier today. He played for 19 years, 17 of which were in Boston. He was drafted as a first baseman but was converted to a knuckle-baller before making it to the majors. Tim Wakefield seemed to have an easy way about his manner when on the mound. Although it seems not much came easily to him on the diamond.
In 1992 he would likely have been the NLCS MVP for the Pirates had it not been for the Game 7 heroics of Francisco Cabrera and Sid Bream. In 1995 Wakefield was outstanding for the Red Sox helping lead them to a playoff appearance before being shelled in the Division Series. In 2003 Wakefield may well have been the ALCS MVP were it not for the one connection of Aaron Boone in the 11th inning. So close.
Then finally, the Idiots won it all in 2004 and Wakefield’s contributions should not be overlooked. In the greatest comeback in baseball history, Wakefield offered to throw some innings of relief in the game 3 drubbing the Sox took at the hands of the Yankees. He gave up his own start for game 4 in order to help the team get through game 3 with something left in their tank. He helped save the bullpen that game and the rest is history.
Wakefield won 200 games in the Major Leagues. In the history of baseball only 107 men have ever won 200 games, and Tim Wakefield is one of them. He also ranks 94th in all-time innings pitched. Only 55 men struck out more batters than Wakefield did in his career. It’s pretty impressive really. Especially considering he was drafted by the Pirates to play 1st base.
Baseball is measured. Everything is tracked. Even though the stats are impressive, it may be Tim’s team first attitude and off-field contributions that he will be remembered for most. From where I sit it appears that Wakefield did anything he could to help the Red Sox organization win. He started, he closed, he threw on short rest, he did whatever he could to help, to give the Sox options. His contributions off the field are numerous, if not countless.
Thank you Tim Wakefield for a great career. Thank you for giving all you had and then some.