Tim Wakefield

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3+13 innings which prevented him from starting Game 4. [13] Derek Lowe started Game 4 in his place which the Red Sox ultimately won. In Game 5, Wakefield again pitched out of the bullpen and was the winning pitcher in a 14-inning game, throwing three shutout innings as the Red Sox won 5–4. The Red Sox beat the Yankees and went on to the World Series. He pitched Game 1 of the 2004 World Series, but did not get a decision as Boston defeated the Cardinals, 11–9, which was the highest-scoring Game 1 in World Series history. The Red Sox swept the Cardinals for their first World Series title in 86 years.

On April 19, 2005, Wakefield agreed to a $4 million, one-year "rolling" contract extension that gave the Red Sox the ability to keep Wakefield for the rest of his career. [14] In the 2005 season, Wakefield led the Red Sox pitching staff with 16 wins and a 4.15 ERA. On September 11, 2005, he set a career high in strikeouts (12) in a 1–0 complete game loss to the New York Yankees. [15]

In 2007, he finished the season with a 17–12 record but was left off the Red Sox roster for the World Series due to an injured shoulder that had been bothering him since late September. [16]

The 12 passed balls while he was pitching topped the majors in 2008. [17]


Wakefield entered his 15th season with the Boston Red Sox in 2009. [18] On April 15, 2009, a day after the Red Sox bullpen was tasked with pitching over 11 innings of relief, Wakefield told Terry Francona: "I understand the circumstances and I just wanted you to know: Whatever happens, don't take me out; let me keep going." He went on to carry a no-hitter into the eighth inning, and earned a complete-game win. [19] At 42, this made him the oldest Red Sox pitcher to pitch a complete game, a record he would break himself in his next start when he pitched a second consecutive complete game win, this time in a seven-inning, rain-shortened game. [20]

Wakefield led the team with a 10–3 record through June 27. [21] With his start on July 3, 2009, Wakefield surpassed Roger Clemens for the most starts in franchise history. [22] His success on the mound had him atop the major leagues with 10 wins at the time of the 2009 All-Star selection. On July 5, 2009, he was announced as an AL All-Star, making him the second-oldest first-time All-Star at 42, behind only Satchel Paige who was 45. [23] By the All-Star break, Wakefield possessed a major league-best 11–3 record. [24] Wakefield did not see action in St. Louis, as he was not needed by Joe Maddon. On July 21, Wakefield was placed on the disabled list due to a lower back strain. [25] He made his next start on August 26 against the Chicago White Sox, pitching seven innings while allowing one earned run to earn a no decision. [26]


Wakefield entered his 16th season with the Boston Red Sox in 2010. He began the year in the starting rotation until Daisuke Matsuzaka came off the disabled list. He later rejoined the rotation due to an injury to Josh Beckett. On May 12, Wakefield recorded his 2,000th career strikeout against Vernon Wells of the Toronto Blue Jays in a 3–2 loss. He joined Jamie Moyer, Javier Vázquez, and Andy Pettitte as the only active pitchers with at least 2,000 career strikeouts. [27] On June 8, Wakefield passed Roger Clemens for the most innings pitched by a Red Sox pitcher. He went on to win that game 3–2 over the Cleveland Indians. [28] On June 13, Wakefield joined Moyer and Pettitte as the only active pitchers with 3,000 innings pitched. He accomplished this feat by retiring Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies on a fly ball to left. [29] On July 2, he surpassed Clemens for another record, this for starts at Fenway; he went eight innings to win 3–2 over the Baltimore Orioles. [30]

On September 8, against the Tampa Bay Rays, he became the oldest Red Sox pitcher ever to win a game; [31] he is also the oldest player to appear in a game for the Red Sox at Fenway. [32]

On October 28, before Game 2 of the 2010 World Series, Wakefield received the Roberto Clemente Award. [33]


Wakefield's 2011 season was followed in the documentary film Knuckleball! [34] [35] Wakefield started his seventeenth season in a Red Sox uniform as a reliever. Injuries to John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka moved him into the starting rotation.

On May 11, 2011, Wakefield pitched 1+13 innings in relief as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Red Sox 9–3 at the Rogers Centre. He became, at 44 years, 282 days, the oldest player ever to appear for the Red Sox. At the All-Star break, Wakefield had a 5–3 record with a 4.74 ERA. [36] On July 24, 2011, while pitching against the Seattle Mariners, Wakefield recorded his 2,000th strikeout in a Red Sox uniform against Mike Carp. He also recorded his 199th career win in that game.

It took Wakefield eight attempts to earn his 200th career win after his 199th, finally doing so in an 18–6 rout over the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on September 13, 2011. The victory came at a time when the Red Sox were in dire need of wins, with the Tampa Bay Rays gaining substantial ground in the race for the American League wild card as Boston fell four games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East division standings. [37] Boston eventually missed the playoffs by one game, and Wakefield ended the season at 7–8 with a 5.12 ERA.

For the 2012 season, Wakefield was offered a minor league contract, with an invitation to spring training, by the Red Sox. Wakefield announced his retirement on February 17, 2012. [38]

Wakefield finished his Red Sox career third in wins (behind Roger Clemens and Cy Young), second in strikeouts (behind Clemens), second in game appearances by a pitcher (behind reliever Bob Stanley), first in games started as a pitcher, and first in innings pitched. His 4.41 career ERA is the highest among all major league pitchers with at least 200 wins.

Playing style

Pitching style

Wakefield throwing a knuckleball in a 2006 game Tim Wakefield vs Yankees 2006.jpg
Wakefield throwing a knuckleball in a 2006 game

Wakefield pitched with what is said to be a slow sidearm motion, but is actually a 34-overhand motion. This also revealed some of his pitches to hitters, because they could see his hand. Wakefield's primary pitch, the knuckleball, was normally thrown at about 64–68 mph and had a great deal of variance in how much it "fluttered". The flutter of his knuckleball depended on a variety of factors including temperature, humidity, precipitation (both type and intensity), air resistance, wind speed, wind direction, the condition of the ball, and very small changes in his grip or the orientation of the seams. Wakefield also featured a 71–75 mph fastball, a slow curve (57-61 mph), and a slower version of his knuckleball (59-62 mph).

Knuckleball pitchers are traditionally believed to be able to pitch more frequently and for more pitches per game than conventional pitchers. Throughout the first decade of his career, Wakefield followed a similar pattern: on April 27, 1993, he threw 172 pitches over 10+ innings in a game for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Atlanta Braves. [39] In his first two weeks with the Red Sox, Wakefield pitched a total of 33+13 innings, including two complete games in addition to a 7+13-inning emergency start on just two days' rest. [40] As late as the 2003 and 2004 ALCS, Wakefield was making relief appearances between starts. In the later years of his career, the Red Sox generally treated Wakefield more like conventional pitchers in terms of pitch count, rarely allowing him to pitch more than about 110 pitches per game, and giving him four days of rest. Also, because of the relatively low wear on their pitching arms, knuckleball pitchers tend to have longer professional careers than most other pitchers.

At the time of his retirement, Wakefield was seventh on the all-time hit batters list.


Because of the difficulty of catching a knuckleball, the Red Sox sometimes carried a backup catcher who specialized in defense and who caught most or all of Wakefield's starts. For several years, his personal catcher was Doug Mirabelli, who used a league-approved mitt similar to a softball catcher's mitt for catching Wakefield. Josh Bard briefly caught Wakefield during the first month of the 2006 season, before Boston reacquired Mirabelli on May 1 after trading him to San Diego the previous offseason. Mirabelli was released in the spring of 2008 and Wakefield's catcher was Kevin Cash during 2008. George Kottaras became his personal catcher in 2009. Victor Martinez was acquired by the Red Sox on July 31, 2009, and began catching for Wakefield on August 26, 2009. Martinez experimented catching Wakefield's pitches with various gloves and mitts before settling on a first baseman's mitt. [41] Due to injuries to both Martinez and Jason Varitek, Boston reacquired Kevin Cash from the Houston Astros on July 1, 2010, to serve as Wakefield's catcher as well as the primary catcher. Martinez became Wakefield's catcher once more when he returned. In 2011, Wakefield began the season in the bullpen and both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek caught him when he entered games. When Wakefield returned to the rotation, Saltalamacchia was the catcher in each game he started.


Due to the designated hitter rule, Wakefield batted for the Red Sox only when playing in National League parks. While with the Pirates, a National League team, he had a .071 and a .163 batting average in his two years. He hit the only home run of his career in 1993. [42] His career batting average was .117. [42]

A sign for Wakefield at the 2007 World Series Rolling Rally celebration Wakefieldsign.jpg
A sign for Wakefield at the 2007 World Series Rolling Rally celebration

Appearances outside of baseball


Wakefield was well known throughout Major League Baseball as one of its most charitable players. He was nominated eight times by the Red Sox for the Roberto Clemente Award, presented to the player who best reflects the spirit of giving back to the community, winning the award in 2010. [4] Since 1998, Wakefield has partnered with the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston to bring patients to Fenway Park to share time with him on and off the field. He has also hosted an annual celebrity golf tournament for 18 years. Wakefield has also been active with New England's Pitching in for Kids organization (a program dedicated to improving the lives of children across the New England region), the Space Coast Early Intervention Center in Melbourne, Florida, and the Touch 'Em All Foundation founded by Garth Brooks.

In 2007, Wakefield released a charity wine called CaberKnuckle, in association with Longball Vineyards, with 100% of the proceeds supporting Pitching in for Kids; the wine raised more than $100,000. [43]

In 2013, the Red Sox named Wakefield Honorary Chairman of the Red Sox Foundation. In that role, Wakefield supports fundraising events, community service days and personal visits. [44]


In June 2012, Wakefield joined NESN as a studio analyst for Red Sox coverage. [45]


In August 2015, Wakefield signed on as a spokesperson for Farmington Bank by making appearances at branch grand openings and television, radio and print advertisements. [46]

Business interests

Wakefield was part owner of a restaurant in Pembroke, Massachusetts, called Turner's Yard. One of his partners in the restaurant was National Hockey League player Shawn Thornton. [47] The restaurant is now closed. [48]

Personal life

Wakefield became an evangelical Christian after he "accepted Jesus Christ as [his] Lord and savior" in 1990. [49]

Wakefield met his wife, Stacy Stover, in Massachusetts. They were married November 9, 2002. Their two children are Trevor (born in 2004) and Brianna (2005). [50] They own a home in Satellite Beach, Florida. [51] [52]

See also

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Tim Wakefield
Tim Wakefield Pitching.jpg
Wakefield pitching for the Red Sox in 2006
Born: (1966-08-02) August 2, 1966 (age 56)
Melbourne, Florida, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 31, 1992, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
September 25, 2011, for the Boston Red Sox