Tim Wakefield retired today. It was the right thing to do. He was one of the good guys, but he had no place on the Red Sox current roster. Wakefield never complained about his role and wasn’t a distraction when he was unceremoniously left off playoff rosters. He will be missed.
Every five days, Red Sox fans got to see the knuckleball: That rare pitch with the strange delivery, the ball floating like a butterfly toward home.
Wakefield is 45-years-old. Perhaps his knuckleball delivery allowed him to pitch so long, but after 19 seasons (17 with Boston) he will go down as an iconic player in Red Sox history. Wakefield has been pitching for the Red Sox as long as many of the fans who fill Fenway’s seats have been alive. He ranks on or near the top of many Red Sox all-time lists:
- 3,006 innings pitched and 430 starts are the most in Red Sox history.
- 2,046 strikeouts and 590 games played are second all-time.
- 186 wins places him behind only Roger Clemens and Cy Young.
- 168 losses and 401 home runs allowed are also all-time records.
Wakefield signed with the Red Sox in 1995 after being released by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He went on to become one of the most prominent pitchers in Boston history and served every role management asked of him. Red Sox fans learned to take the good with the bad with Wakefield, and during 17 seasons, were treated mostly to the good.
Along with the possibility of Jason Varitek moving on, Wakefield’s retirement marks another familiar face Red Sox fans won’t see during the 2012 season.
Contributor: Brian Hendrickson