Tim Wakefield has passed away from brain cancer at 57 (10/1 update)

Hoya81

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Feb 3, 2010
8,490
I'm also curious if there might be other stadium related issues that might factor into this as well see that these stadiums opened within a three year span. Howser and Quiz from the Royals, Daulton and McGraw from the Phillies all with brain cancer. Anyone else from either of those teams or the Pirates?
Another Royal of that era, Paul Splittorff, died of cancer but not glioblastoma. Same with Rennie Stennett of the 70's Pirates.
https://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/philly-inquirer-field-of-dread.38940/
There was some discussion about this in a thread from the spring about a Philadelphia Inquirier article about the turf used at the Vet and its potential link to the cluster of cancer cases from Phillies players and coaches of that era. The article itself theorized that the intense field-level heat that were common in most of the old open-air Turf stadiums could have intensified the impacts from the Turf chemicals.

Players from the old NL East may have been at increased risk as a result. At one point had 4 out of 6 stadiums (Three Rivers, Olympic Stadium, Old Busch Stadium, Veterans Stadium), used Turf and were open air. So players of that era could have had 120 or more days of exposure. The old AL West had 3 Turf stadiums (Kaufmann, Kingdome, Metrodome) but there hasn't any significant public cases of glioblastoma from the Twins or the Mariners that I'm aware of. There's obvious limits to internet sleuthing, but I have to think that the teams/league and the MLBPA together would have enough data to kickstart a serious research effort.
 

CaptainLaddie

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Sep 6, 2004
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Just for a laugh (which I need right now), I thought I'd look up Wakefield's numbers against the ten highest OPS+ hitters of Wake's career (min 1500 PA).

Bonds: 182/308/455, 1 HR, 2 BB (hit HR on his last PA against Wake, a solo shot) in 13 PA
McGwire: 208/367/583, 3 HR, 5 BB, 6 K in 30 PA
Pujols: 000/167/000 in 6 PA
Manny: 267/353/433 in 34 PA
Big Hurt: 268/338/679, 7 HR, 7 BB, 16 K in 65 PA
Votto: 000/000/000, 0 BB, 1 K in 3 PA
Edgar: 053/438/053, 12 BB, 7 K in 32 PA
Bagwell: 500/500/500, 0 BB, 0 K, in 2 PA
Miggy: 267/353/333, 1 BB, 3 K in 17 PA
Thome: 180/239/393, 3 HR, 5 BB, 12 K in 67 PA

He made some of the best hitters of his era look downright silly (the Edgar Martinez line is pretty funny, and Big Hurt basically owned Wake) throwing the knuckler. Bonds being baffled by him is incredibly cool. I wish we could have seen more Votto PA considering how great Votto's eye is.

Giambi had a 662 OPS against him in 112 PA. Jeter? 752 in 121 PA.

Goddamn, what an great player and better person.

Edit: I didn't realize his major league debut was... a complete game. 9 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 10 K. 146 (!!) pitches. I wonder how many pitchers have thrown a complete game in their debut?
 
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TonyPenaNeverJuiced

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Jun 7, 2015
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So many beautiful memories shared here. So terrible there will be no new ones made. The tributes and anecdotes are consistent, and the size of Mr. Wakefield's character clearly outshone his incredible, unusual career. What a joy and blessing we all could root for him.

I do hope the team retires 49. And yet . . .I hope if there's every another knuckler on the Sox, the number is available only to them.
 

BoSox Rule

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Jul 15, 2005
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Football players you would think would be more vulnerable, contact w/the stuff more frequent, multiple abrasions, etc. All of those places were multipurpose arenas. In any case, is any of that stuff around that they could do studies on? Seems really hard to prove anything.
I wanna say I read something that it could be way different for baseball players because of how hot it is when they play, but I could be pulling that out of my ass. Also 81 home games a year, research is still early on this.
 

wiffleballhero

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Mar 28, 2009
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In the simulacrum
I don't have anything to add except my own voice to the chorus of mourning here.

I suspect it was probably very hard for Varitek to talk to the cameras in the way he did, but I am glad he did. He is like a proxy for the feelings of the whole Red Sox world today.
 

NorthwestSoxGuy

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Oct 15, 2022
155
Nooooo! I'm so heartbroken. Tim Wakefield was a great pitcher and great guy. I feel awful for his family and his friends.

Curt Schilling is also now one of my top least favorite people.
 
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Bergs

funky and cold
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Jul 22, 2005
21,680
So sad to hear this. This seems like a good time to share a poem written by my wife so long ago. We'll miss him in our house.


I SOX NEW YORK

We have cable now, and Extra Innings,
so no more bars, where I have to put up with the girlfriend treatment
from the guys who talk about the game with my husband
and who see me, maybe, but don't hear a thing I have to say
about Schilling's pitching or the umpire's calls;
when the truth of the matter is
that my husband was born in Tacoma, Washington
and never once set foot in Boston, let alone Fenway,
until I took him there
on August 23, 2003, when Byung-Hyun Kim blew the save
but the Sox came out ahead anyway
with an RBI double by Millar in the tenth.
There, in our grandstand seats under the wide blue sky,
my husband, then my boyfriend,
tapped into something he left in his Minnesota boyhood
at the Metrodome, where they play baseball indoors,
on a carpet; and now our home is filled
with books of statistics that my husband uses to explain
why we are better off now without
Nomar or Pedro or D-Lowe or Johnny,
but I miss them all, how I loved them
even when they were beautiful losers
with unkempt hair.
But I only ever loved baseball
as a poet does, for the greeny hope of April
and how the languid days of summer bring that hope
into the diminishing light of October;
for the stolen base that wins it all
and the game-saving double play;
and for the miracle of grass in the midst of the city.
I might like baseball better, says my husband,
if I didn't hate the Yankees so much. He has no idea
how completely lost I get in Yankee Stadium,
where I feel how very small I am,
my little hands and little voice drowning in the roar
and the beery rage of the righteous.
Johnny or Manny might get confused, but
Tim Wakefield, at least, knows what he wants:
to be with the Red Sox forever;
and his knuckleball still confounds the pinstriped sluggers.
Once he releases the pitch, no-one knows where it's going,
not the batter, not the catcher;
not even he knows what will happen
as the ball wobbles its way toward the plate.

Rachael Lynn Nevins
written spring 2006
That is beautiful. Especially this:

"He has no idea
how completely lost I get in Yankee Stadium,
where I feel how very small I am,
my little hands and little voice drowning in the roar
and the beery rage of the righteous.
Johnny or Manny might get confused, but
Tim Wakefield, at least, knows what he wants:
to be with the Red Sox forever"
 

MacChimpman

New Member
Sep 2, 2008
12
This news just guts me. I really loved Timmy Wakefield. As a lifelong admirer and student of the knuckleball, I followed his whole career closely. When the Sox signed him, I was ecstatic. But I often like to remember his storybook rise to the majors in ‘92 which is the stuff dreams are made of.

I had never in my life seen a brand new rookie knuckleballer. I don’t know if any ever existed. Knuckleballers are mostly aging odd duck washout veterans who lost their fastball and managed to eke out a career with a pitch nobody likes. Phil Niekro looked like someone’s aging grey haired dad out there. Charlie Hough looked like a gas station attendant. But midway into the season, here he is, a baby faced rookie all of 25- and an athletic fielder too. He comes out of nowhere, gets a spot in the starting rotation and proceeds to go 8-1 down the stretch helping the Pirates to the postseason, with two complete game victories in the NLCS! I couldn’t believe it. It was like the knuckleball gods had answered my prayers. Can you imagine how this must have felt in the Wakefield house?

What an extraordinary and lovely man. He will not be forgotten.
Godspeed, Timothy Stephen Wakefield.
 
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ookami7m

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My oldest daughter who has inherited the fandom was gifted a Wakefield gray road jersey to go with a matching one I received a month later.

Mine has since been lost in a move but that one still hangs in her closet even though she has long since outgrown it. Six months or so ago, When my wife asked her why she didn’t want to donate it, the kid looked at her like she was being asked to murder a friend, “Mom! It’s Wakefield! I can’t give that one away, he’s an all-time Sox”.

remembering that tonight brings a smile and a tear. Truly an All Time Sox.
 

InstaFace

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Sep 27, 2016
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I'm as shocked as most of you. A teammate told me the news on the field tonight - in Pittsburgh. They remember him here for 1992. I'd seen the story a few days ago but the suddenness of it ending... could hardly think straight.

I'm just going through youtube and watching some highlights, trying to honor the memory of a guy who did as much as anyone could ever ask for us to entertain us every night and to always be ready when he was needed.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpZfKftTEIQ



In his own words (and only 2 months ago):
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIA7jqLkhb8



Not many players have struck out 4 in an inning. This is 1999; we didn't pick up Mirabelli until 2001, and from the looks of it we could've used him.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAFR_ug-8FQ



The better of the several career-highlights videos that I've seen, including an extended cut of 2004 ALCS Game 5:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvgIw2yppVM



And this little treat, the only one of his career:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YfwCS6B2sI



And 1992 NLCS highlights, too.
 

patinorange

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SoSH Member
Aug 27, 2006
30,947
6 miles from Angel Stadium
So sad to hear this. This seems like a good time to share a poem written by my wife so long ago. We'll miss him in our house.


I SOX NEW YORK

We have cable now, and Extra Innings,
so no more bars, where I have to put up with the girlfriend treatment
from the guys who talk about the game with my husband
and who see me, maybe, but don't hear a thing I have to say
about Schilling's pitching or the umpire's calls;
when the truth of the matter is
that my husband was born in Tacoma, Washington
and never once set foot in Boston, let alone Fenway,
until I took him there
on August 23, 2003, when Byung-Hyun Kim blew the save
but the Sox came out ahead anyway
with an RBI double by Millar in the tenth.
There, in our grandstand seats under the wide blue sky,
my husband, then my boyfriend,
tapped into something he left in his Minnesota boyhood
at the Metrodome, where they play baseball indoors,
on a carpet; and now our home is filled
with books of statistics that my husband uses to explain
why we are better off now without
Nomar or Pedro or D-Lowe or Johnny,
but I miss them all, how I loved them
even when they were beautiful losers
with unkempt hair.
But I only ever loved baseball
as a poet does, for the greeny hope of April
and how the languid days of summer bring that hope
into the diminishing light of October;
for the stolen base that wins it all
and the game-saving double play;
and for the miracle of grass in the midst of the city.
I might like baseball better, says my husband,
if I didn't hate the Yankees so much. He has no idea
how completely lost I get in Yankee Stadium,
where I feel how very small I am,
my little hands and little voice drowning in the roar
and the beery rage of the righteous.
Johnny or Manny might get confused, but
Tim Wakefield, at least, knows what he wants:
to be with the Red Sox forever;
and his knuckleball still confounds the pinstriped sluggers.
Once he releases the pitch, no-one knows where it's going,
not the batter, not the catcher;
not even he knows what will happen
as the ball wobbles its way toward the plate.

Rachael Lynn Nevins
written spring 2006
Wow. Fantastic.
 

jayhoz

Ronald Bartel
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
17,391
I am gutted. The only piece of sports apparel I've ever owned with a player's name on it was that of Tim Wakefield. I loved him for the joy he provided us fans on his good days and the humility and perseverance he showed on his off days. He accepted every role that made the team better with grace. He was selfless with his time on and off the field. I can't think of a better role model in all of sport.

He was a humble and soft spoken man who I imagine people would run through walls for if asked. A truly remarkable human being.
 

santadevil

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Aug 1, 2006
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Saskatchestan
I'm as shocked as most of you. A teammate told me the news on the field tonight - in Pittsburgh. They remember him here for 1992. I'd seen the story a few days ago but the suddenness of it ending... could hardly think straight.

I'm just going through youtube and watching some highlights, trying to honor the memory of a guy who did as much as anyone could ever ask for us to entertain us every night and to always be ready when he was needed.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpZfKftTEIQ



In his own words (and only 2 months ago):
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIA7jqLkhb8



Not many players have struck out 4 in an inning. This is 1999; we didn't pick up Mirabelli until 2001, and from the looks of it we could've used him.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAFR_ug-8FQ



The better of the several career-highlights videos that I've seen, including an extended cut of 2004 ALCS Game 5:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvgIw2yppVM



And this little treat, the only one of his career:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YfwCS6B2sI



And 1992 NLCS highlights, too.
1992 highlights were awesome. Thanks
 

Harry Hooper

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Lifetime Member
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Jan 4, 2002
34,596
From McAdam's column on Masslive:

I remember, too, the immense pride on his face at the 2010 World Series when he was named the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to the player “who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”

Wakefield called winning the award the highlight of his career — quite a statement from someone who had been part of the unprecedented comeback and historic championship of the 2004 Red Sox. But as he sat at the dais, flanked by commissioner Bud Selig and Clemente’s widow, Vera, there was no doubting his pride.
 

TimScribble

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Jul 16, 2005
1,477
I know I’ve shared this before but Tim is the reason I became a Red Sox fan. I grew up in Jacksonville during the late 80s/early 90s. The entire region cheered for the Atlanta Braves and to counter, I started cheering for the Pirates. I loved watching the likes of Van Slyke, Drabek, Bell, Bonilla, and Bonds. But I really became attached to Wakefield when he was called up. A Florida kid with my name who threw a baffling pitch, it was mesmerizing.

In 95, both he and Van Slyke were gone and I could either pull for Baltimore, where AVS ended up, or follow Wakefield in Boston. I chose the Sox and have been attached ever since. I wasn’t a fan (or really old enough) to experience the 1986 disaster and had only been part of the up-and-down years of the 90s/00s until 2003. When Wake gave up the homer to Boone, I was crushed for the Sox, for the fans that I had grown to love, and mostly for Wakefield. The next year was such a redemption moment, and I coincidentally watched the Red Sox win from a hotel room in Atlanta.

I’ll never forget the days of checking the newspaper for the box scores to see how Wakefield performed or staying up to watch SportsCenter for his highlights. I wore his number whenever I could and I’m a Red Sox fan for life because of Tim. All the love and prayers to his family. A great baseball player, an amazing member of the Red Sox family, and an outstanding human being.
 

The Mort Report

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Aug 5, 2007
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I became a teen in Wake’s first year here. He’s why I became a baseball fan, not Red Sox fan, a baseball fan. No matter how great it was to watch Pedro mow people down, for me my favorite games were when Wake’s butterfly would just ruin hitter’s day. When he was on there was nothing more fun to watch to me. I stopped watching baseball years ago, but ended up catching a rain delay with him recently and just marveled how good he was in that role. The dude was just an amazing human and it sucks so much he’s gone
 

jose melendez

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Oct 23, 2003
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I went back into the KEYS TO THE GAME archives to find some things I'd written about the late, great Tim Wakefield, my favourite baseball player, over the years It's a little scattered, there are some weird issues with converting from 20 year old files and nothing really captures how I feel about him, but here we go.

September 16, 2004

Congratulations to Tim Wakefield who passed Roger Clemens for number two on the Red Sox all time appearances list when he took the mound last night, despite his shaky performance. But appearances are a funny statistic. If a pitcher enters a game but clearly isnít really ìall thereî does that count as an appearance? Jose is thinking about Calvin Schiraldi here.
Jose is also a little surprised by the list. Jose knew that Bob Stanley would be number one, but he didnít expect Clemens to be number two. Jose sort of figured it would be Greg Harris, because as best Jose can recall, Harris appeared in 236 games in the 1990 season alone.
Still, congratulations to Wake are in order. When Jose bought a Wakefield jersey in 1995 in the middle of his 14-1 streak, Jose never thought Wakefield would be the last member of that team still with the organization. Jose was almost sure Dwayne Hosey would hang around longer.
(Note: Because Jose worked at Fenway that summer, it is one of his formative seasons, along with 1999, when he lived in Kenmore Square, and this season, when he writes KEYS. To this day, every time Alan Embree runs out of the pen wearing number 43, Jose thinks, look we reacquired Stan Belinda.)

October 31, 2004 (Championship Parade)

The other highlight was when Joseís all time favorite Red Sox Tim Wakefield came by. Jose was wearing his Wakefield jersey as usual and got the idea that he should take it off and hold it up to the window so Wake could see that he is appreciated. Jose got Wakefieldís attention, but when Wakefield saw Jose unbuttoning his shirt (Note: Jose had a T-shirt on underneath) he got a little freaked out and looked away. Jose thinks that Wakefield thought that some random guy was going to flash him and got nervous. Needless to say, Jose backed off and left his shirt on.
April 20, 2005

1. Congratulations to Tim Wakefield for signing what is effectively a lifetime contract with the Red Sox and far more importantly, for making Jose look like a genius.
Itís easy for Jose to say that Wakefield is his all time favorite Red Sox now that he has ten years of distinguished service with the team including three spectacular innings of relief in Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS, but it was true in 1995 too. It was in 1995, that Jose proudly used his 10 percent Fenway employee discount to drop almost two days pay on an authentic Tim Wakefield road jersey. Who knew at the time that Wakefield would be the last member of the 1995 AL East Champions to remaining with the team? Jose knew, thatís who. (Note: Trot Nixon has been with the organization longer, but not with the Major League club.)

While other fans have been forced to deface or retire their Vaughn, Clemens and Nomar jerseys, Jose has worn his Wakefield jersey year after year after year, secure in the knowledge that he will never have to remove the name or the number, each of which added $20 to the price of the garment.
In fact, Jose can only think of two decisions in his entire life that were as shrewd as the purchase of that jersey. The first was buying a tuxedo for his junior prom. Jose has worn that thing so many times that itís saved him a fortune. The key is getting the adjustable waist and the shawl cut. While proper lapels get wider and narrow with fashion, the shawl always stays the same. With a shawl cut tuxedo, one is never in style, but one is also never out of style. Actually, this is Joseís life philosophy. He is never completely in vogue but never completely out of vogue either. Jose's second shrewd decision was choosing the moniker ìJose Melendez ather than Dario Veras. Iím Dario Veras and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME. See no rhythm at all.

June 2, 2005

Sox starter Tim Wakefield suffered his fourth straight loss last night for the first time in four years. In his post game comments, Wakefield, who was swatted for three home runs, compared his knuckleballs last night to the male characters in the work of Jane Austen.[They] didnít have any depth, he said.

June 7, 2005

After recording his fifth straight loss, Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield continued to compare his pitching struggles to reading the works of Jane Austen. ìIím trying to find the positives now, but itís really difficult,said Wakefield. Jose hopes that Wakefield regains his form so he can start comparing his pitches to the novels of William Faulkner with quotes like They're very confusing, but extremely good.

May 11, 2007 Jose loves Tim Wakefield and Jose loves the knuckleball. Or more accu- rately, Jose loves Tim Wakefield because of the knuckleball. This is not a secret.

Time and time again, Jose has described how he became enamored of the knuckleball while watching one of the Niekro brothers on The Baseball Bunch. (Note: Isn’t it time for a new Baseball Bunch? Could Barry Bonds play the Johnny Bench role, teaching kids the fundamentals, like hitting, throwing and proper use of performance enhancing drugs? “Cream on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, clear on Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays kids. But on Sunday you rest. That’s God’s time.) Jose has described his lifelong effort to throw knuckleball and how it has resulted in him throwing exactly two out of, perhaps 10,000 pitches thrown. Jose has even claimed that he likes the knuckleball because it is like magic. It is the baseball equivalent of having a 5’3’’ NBA player who is in the league solely on his ability to hit half court set shots. At least that’s why Jose thought he loved the knuckleball. But he has had a change of heart. He has, if you will, flip flopped or perhaps sandaled.

Jose loves the knuckleball, because it is a metaphor for life. maybe not for everyone’s life, but for Jose’s life. The thing about the knuckleball that is so extraordinary is that unlike other pitches, it cannot be controlled, only directed, managed. Tim Wakefield cannot force the knuckleball up or down in the zone. He cannot choose for it to be a strike or a ball. What he can do is affect how sharply it breaks by speeding it up or slowing it down. And time after time, he can repeat, with the greatest possible precision, the exact motions that have brought him, and other knuckleballers before him, optimal results. Sometimes the outcomes are excellent, and some- times, like now or in his magical 1995 stretch, they are astonishingly good for lengthy stretches. At others, such as when he was left off the 1999 ALCS roster after he seemed capable of blowing a 98 run lead in Game 4 of the ALDS, nothing he does seems to matter.

This is how life goes for Jose. He keeps the fingernails of his being trimmed and filed to exactly 3mm, he goes out of the figurative pitching motion and does his best to make the little tweaks required to keep the knuckleballs of daily life breaking hard over the plate. Sometimes the results are wonderful. Sometimes the Jason Giambis of despair, the Derek Jeters of adversity swing and miss and look as foolish as jesters. Sometimes, even thought they swing and miss, the ball evades the catcher and sneaks to the back stop, as seemingly good fortune melts into bad. But other times, there is Aaron Boone. Other times, Jose does the best he can, rotates the horsehide of his being forward by exactly one-fourth of a rotation, and still, there is no break, no movement. Whether it is a gust of wind from the frozen north, a butterfly batting its wings in Malaysia or a fan sneezing in section 23, the knuckleball fails to knuckle, the good intentions yield bad results and the ball makes an abrupt about face into the bleachers and into the emotional void of failure.
Jose cannot control his life any more than Tim Wakefield can control his knuckleball. He can only put faith in the soundness of his actions, the purity of his intentions and know that when his wins and losses are counted up at the end of the season, his record will be a little above five hundred. No, he may not be extraordinary, but he will be effective, he will be valued and maybe, just maybe he will hit that hot streak, that mystical spot at just the right time, and he can do something truly legendary

May 27, 2007
Tim Wakefield is the Habsburg Empire. He just is. Both of them, the Austrians and the Spaniards, and in every iteration. From the Holy Roman Empire, to the Austrian Empire to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, that’s what Wakefield is. Yes, sometimes, in 1995 for instance, he looks like the Mongols, absolutely ravaging opponents, and other times, say late 1999 when he was left off the ALCS roster, he looks less like an empire at all and far more like on of those peaceful little tribes that was conquered and lost to history. But when taken in his entirety, Wakefield is most definitely the Habsburgs.

You can go right back to the beginning with the comparison, in that both Wakefield and the Habsburgs rose not because of their competence, but because of their incompetence. Whereas Frederick III was elected the first Habsburg Holy Roman Empire, precisely because other monarchs viewed him as too incompetent to comprise their power, Wakefield
was forced into the knuckleball by his failure as an infielder. Both the Habsburgs and Wakefield would fulfill their destinies almost by accident.

Let Jose describe the essence of Habsburg rule. The Habsburgs came to dominate much of Europe. Their empire, at times stretched as far East as what it now Ukraine and as far West as Spain and as far South as Sicily (Note: Though there was lots in the middle they did not rule, and the extents of their empire varied dramatically over the centuries.) Yet, they achieved this spectacular success, despite utter mediocrity and significant incompetence. How pathetic were they militarily? Perhaps their greatest hero is Prince Eugene of Savoy, who staved off the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683. That’s right; their greatest military hero was French!

No, the unofficial motto, of the Habsburgs was “Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube,” “Let others wage war, you - happy Austria - marry!” The Habsburgs could not win on the battlefield, so they won with the through the subtle trickery of matrimony.
So is any of this starting to sound like a pitcher you know? Tim Wakefield has somehow managed to gather 158 career wins and to creep into the top 100 on the all time strikeout list, despite not being particu- larly good. Just like the Habsburgs, he has had remarkable success despite lacking major league stuff. Just as the Habsburgs relied on matrimony, Wakefield has used the equally subtle knuckleball to escape his limitations. Moreover, just as the Habsburgs produced only two leaders of any distinc- tion, Maria Theresa an Charles V of Spain, so too, had Tim Wakefield only two seasons of particular distinction, his debut year where he went 8-1 for the Pirates and his remarkable 1995 campaign. If one wishes, one can add Joseph II/Wakefield’s 2002 campaign to the list of competence.

But that’s where the analogy ends. The Habsburg’s Empire ended, with Gavrilo Princip’s bullet in Sarajevo. Yes, Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s death did not end the Empire on that day, but in set in motion the awful events of World War I that would eventually lead to the death of their empire. Wakefield has already met his Princip, in Aaron Boone, who likePrincip was a small and insignificant man who fate tabbed for one brief moment of importance. That moment in 2003, when Boone’s home run ended the 2003 ALCS as surely and as quickly as an assassin’s bullet ended the life of the Habsburg heir, should have set in motion the torturous end of Tim Wakefield’s career if the analogy was to hold true.
And yet here we are, four years later. Wakefield pitched brilliantly in Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS and won a championship that year, and today he continues to start. His starts remain enigmatic, inconsistent and his seasonal numbers without particular distinction. Is it what we as fans would want? Probably not, but perhaps we should be satisfied with it. After all, the Habsburgs, certainly would have given anything four years after Franz Ferdinand’s Assassination to be lumbering along in their stylized mediocrity, rather than accelerating towards disasterous defeat and dissolution.
 

Van Everyman

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Apr 30, 2009
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I went back into the KEYS TO THE GAME archives to find some things I'd written about the late, great Tim Wakefield, my favourite baseball player, over the years It's a little scattered, there are some weird issues with converting from 20 year old files and nothing really captures how I feel about him, but here we go.

September 16, 2004

Congratulations to Tim Wakefield who passed Roger Clemens for number two on the Red Sox all time appearances list when he took the mound last night, despite his shaky performance. But appearances are a funny statistic. If a pitcher enters a game but clearly isnít really ìall thereî does that count as an appearance? Jose is thinking about Calvin Schiraldi here.
Jose is also a little surprised by the list. Jose knew that Bob Stanley would be number one, but he didnít expect Clemens to be number two. Jose sort of figured it would be Greg Harris, because as best Jose can recall, Harris appeared in 236 games in the 1990 season alone.
Still, congratulations to Wake are in order. When Jose bought a Wakefield jersey in 1995 in the middle of his 14-1 streak, Jose never thought Wakefield would be the last member of that team still with the organization. Jose was almost sure Dwayne Hosey would hang around longer.
(Note: Because Jose worked at Fenway that summer, it is one of his formative seasons, along with 1999, when he lived in Kenmore Square, and this season, when he writes KEYS. To this day, every time Alan Embree runs out of the pen wearing number 43, Jose thinks, look we reacquired Stan Belinda.)

October 31, 2004 (Championship Parade)

The other highlight was when Joseís all time favorite Red Sox Tim Wakefield came by. Jose was wearing his Wakefield jersey as usual and got the idea that he should take it off and hold it up to the window so Wake could see that he is appreciated. Jose got Wakefieldís attention, but when Wakefield saw Jose unbuttoning his shirt (Note: Jose had a T-shirt on underneath) he got a little freaked out and looked away. Jose thinks that Wakefield thought that some random guy was going to flash him and got nervous. Needless to say, Jose backed off and left his shirt on.
April 20, 2005

1. Congratulations to Tim Wakefield for signing what is effectively a lifetime contract with the Red Sox and far more importantly, for making Jose look like a genius.
Itís easy for Jose to say that Wakefield is his all time favorite Red Sox now that he has ten years of distinguished service with the team including three spectacular innings of relief in Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS, but it was true in 1995 too. It was in 1995, that Jose proudly used his 10 percent Fenway employee discount to drop almost two days pay on an authentic Tim Wakefield road jersey. Who knew at the time that Wakefield would be the last member of the 1995 AL East Champions to remaining with the team? Jose knew, thatís who. (Note: Trot Nixon has been with the organization longer, but not with the Major League club.)

While other fans have been forced to deface or retire their Vaughn, Clemens and Nomar jerseys, Jose has worn his Wakefield jersey year after year after year, secure in the knowledge that he will never have to remove the name or the number, each of which added $20 to the price of the garment.
In fact, Jose can only think of two decisions in his entire life that were as shrewd as the purchase of that jersey. The first was buying a tuxedo for his junior prom. Jose has worn that thing so many times that itís saved him a fortune. The key is getting the adjustable waist and the shawl cut. While proper lapels get wider and narrow with fashion, the shawl always stays the same. With a shawl cut tuxedo, one is never in style, but one is also never out of style. Actually, this is Joseís life philosophy. He is never completely in vogue but never completely out of vogue either. Jose's second shrewd decision was choosing the moniker ìJose Melendez ather than Dario Veras. Iím Dario Veras and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME. See no rhythm at all.

June 2, 2005

Sox starter Tim Wakefield suffered his fourth straight loss last night for the first time in four years. In his post game comments, Wakefield, who was swatted for three home runs, compared his knuckleballs last night to the male characters in the work of Jane Austen.[They] didnít have any depth, he said.

June 7, 2005

After recording his fifth straight loss, Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield continued to compare his pitching struggles to reading the works of Jane Austen. ìIím trying to find the positives now, but itís really difficult,said Wakefield. Jose hopes that Wakefield regains his form so he can start comparing his pitches to the novels of William Faulkner with quotes like They're very confusing, but extremely good.

May 11, 2007 Jose loves Tim Wakefield and Jose loves the knuckleball. Or more accu- rately, Jose loves Tim Wakefield because of the knuckleball. This is not a secret.

Time and time again, Jose has described how he became enamored of the knuckleball while watching one of the Niekro brothers on The Baseball Bunch. (Note: Isn’t it time for a new Baseball Bunch? Could Barry Bonds play the Johnny Bench role, teaching kids the fundamentals, like hitting, throwing and proper use of performance enhancing drugs? “Cream on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, clear on Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays kids. But on Sunday you rest. That’s God’s time.) Jose has described his lifelong effort to throw knuckleball and how it has resulted in him throwing exactly two out of, perhaps 10,000 pitches thrown. Jose has even claimed that he likes the knuckleball because it is like magic. It is the baseball equivalent of having a 5’3’’ NBA player who is in the league solely on his ability to hit half court set shots. At least that’s why Jose thought he loved the knuckleball. But he has had a change of heart. He has, if you will, flip flopped or perhaps sandaled.

Jose loves the knuckleball, because it is a metaphor for life. maybe not for everyone’s life, but for Jose’s life. The thing about the knuckleball that is so extraordinary is that unlike other pitches, it cannot be controlled, only directed, managed. Tim Wakefield cannot force the knuckleball up or down in the zone. He cannot choose for it to be a strike or a ball. What he can do is affect how sharply it breaks by speeding it up or slowing it down. And time after time, he can repeat, with the greatest possible precision, the exact motions that have brought him, and other knuckleballers before him, optimal results. Sometimes the outcomes are excellent, and some- times, like now or in his magical 1995 stretch, they are astonishingly good for lengthy stretches. At others, such as when he was left off the 1999 ALCS roster after he seemed capable of blowing a 98 run lead in Game 4 of the ALDS, nothing he does seems to matter.

This is how life goes for Jose. He keeps the fingernails of his being trimmed and filed to exactly 3mm, he goes out of the figurative pitching motion and does his best to make the little tweaks required to keep the knuckleballs of daily life breaking hard over the plate. Sometimes the results are wonderful. Sometimes the Jason Giambis of despair, the Derek Jeters of adversity swing and miss and look as foolish as jesters. Sometimes, even thought they swing and miss, the ball evades the catcher and sneaks to the back stop, as seemingly good fortune melts into bad. But other times, there is Aaron Boone. Other times, Jose does the best he can, rotates the horsehide of his being forward by exactly one-fourth of a rotation, and still, there is no break, no movement. Whether it is a gust of wind from the frozen north, a butterfly batting its wings in Malaysia or a fan sneezing in section 23, the knuckleball fails to knuckle, the good intentions yield bad results and the ball makes an abrupt about face into the bleachers and into the emotional void of failure.
Jose cannot control his life any more than Tim Wakefield can control his knuckleball. He can only put faith in the soundness of his actions, the purity of his intentions and know that when his wins and losses are counted up at the end of the season, his record will be a little above five hundred. No, he may not be extraordinary, but he will be effective, he will be valued and maybe, just maybe he will hit that hot streak, that mystical spot at just the right time, and he can do something truly legendary

May 27, 2007
Tim Wakefield is the Habsburg Empire. He just is. Both of them, the Austrians and the Spaniards, and in every iteration. From the Holy Roman Empire, to the Austrian Empire to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, that’s what Wakefield is. Yes, sometimes, in 1995 for instance, he looks like the Mongols, absolutely ravaging opponents, and other times, say late 1999 when he was left off the ALCS roster, he looks less like an empire at all and far more like on of those peaceful little tribes that was conquered and lost to history. But when taken in his entirety, Wakefield is most definitely the Habsburgs.

You can go right back to the beginning with the comparison, in that both Wakefield and the Habsburgs rose not because of their competence, but because of their incompetence. Whereas Frederick III was elected the first Habsburg Holy Roman Empire, precisely because other monarchs viewed him as too incompetent to comprise their power, Wakefield
was forced into the knuckleball by his failure as an infielder. Both the Habsburgs and Wakefield would fulfill their destinies almost by accident.

Let Jose describe the essence of Habsburg rule. The Habsburgs came to dominate much of Europe. Their empire, at times stretched as far East as what it now Ukraine and as far West as Spain and as far South as Sicily (Note: Though there was lots in the middle they did not rule, and the extents of their empire varied dramatically over the centuries.) Yet, they achieved this spectacular success, despite utter mediocrity and significant incompetence. How pathetic were they militarily? Perhaps their greatest hero is Prince Eugene of Savoy, who staved off the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683. That’s right; their greatest military hero was French!

No, the unofficial motto, of the Habsburgs was “Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube,” “Let others wage war, you - happy Austria - marry!” The Habsburgs could not win on the battlefield, so they won with the through the subtle trickery of matrimony.
So is any of this starting to sound like a pitcher you know? Tim Wakefield has somehow managed to gather 158 career wins and to creep into the top 100 on the all time strikeout list, despite not being particu- larly good. Just like the Habsburgs, he has had remarkable success despite lacking major league stuff. Just as the Habsburgs relied on matrimony, Wakefield has used the equally subtle knuckleball to escape his limitations. Moreover, just as the Habsburgs produced only two leaders of any distinc- tion, Maria Theresa an Charles V of Spain, so too, had Tim Wakefield only two seasons of particular distinction, his debut year where he went 8-1 for the Pirates and his remarkable 1995 campaign. If one wishes, one can add Joseph II/Wakefield’s 2002 campaign to the list of competence.

But that’s where the analogy ends. The Habsburg’s Empire ended, with Gavrilo Princip’s bullet in Sarajevo. Yes, Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s death did not end the Empire on that day, but in set in motion the awful events of World War I that would eventually lead to the death of their empire. Wakefield has already met his Princip, in Aaron Boone, who likePrincip was a small and insignificant man who fate tabbed for one brief moment of importance. That moment in 2003, when Boone’s home run ended the 2003 ALCS as surely and as quickly as an assassin’s bullet ended the life of the Habsburg heir, should have set in motion the torturous end of Tim Wakefield’s career if the analogy was to hold true.
And yet here we are, four years later. Wakefield pitched brilliantly in Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS and won a championship that year, and today he continues to start. His starts remain enigmatic, inconsistent and his seasonal numbers without particular distinction. Is it what we as fans would want? Probably not, but perhaps we should be satisfied with it. After all, the Habsburgs, certainly would have given anything four years after Franz Ferdinand’s Assassination to be lumbering along in their stylized mediocrity, rather than accelerating towards disasterous defeat and dissolution.
The parade/shirt unbuttoning had me laughing. Thanks for sharing, @jose melendez.
 

NDame616

will bailey
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Jul 31, 2006
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Maybe it's a me problem but I'm pretty upset at TSH coverage of Wakefield's death. It's been a middle part of the headlines all weekend. Wallach just brushed it off and essentially included it in the same sentence as "and the Red Sox won yesterday to wrap up their season"
 

Hildy

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I do not collect baseball memorabilia, but I do have a Tim Wakefield autographed baseball. Bought it at a school auction for a Christmas gift for my daughter, but somehow it ended up on my office desk instead of under the tree. I look at it and remember sitting on top of the Green Monster with my daughter, who was beside herself, freezing my tailbone off with my cousin at a frigid post season game, taking my father and aunt to what would be their last visit to Fenway. Just a lovely man, even though he was incorrect about Jane Austen’s male characters. (Thank you for that, @jose melendez . I’m still laughing).
 

Oil Can Dan

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I'm still so stunned and saddened by this. Unlike Pedro or Yaz or Clemens or Nomar any other great Red Sox that was loaded with pure talent Wake was all of us. Wake was a guy that loved baseball and found a way to make it work even with his somewhat 'normal' (comparatively speaking) athletic ability. Heading in to the '04 series I decided I wanted a Sox jersey with the '04 WS patch. Pedro is my favorite player of all time and then there was Papi and of course Manny and Tek, but I decided on Mr. Red Sox, Timmy Wakefield. I'm so proud to wear his number and wouldn't trade it for anything.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I remember us getting pretty exasperated at the chase for 200 in 2011, took him a real losing streak to get there (was on 199 through all of August and half of September). With the day to day baseball of it all in the rear-view and not being particularly ticked off at that year's collapse, I'm very happy he got that.

I've never been even a "buy a jersey" guy (absolutely zero shade to all who do, just not my thing), but the Sox t-shirt that I had for a long long time was a 49 Wakefield.
 

Humphrey

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I never even thought of that. Quite a few less games played over the course of what is usually a short career, but certainly more time was actually spent touching the turf for most of them
I have to grant whoever answered my post with comments about the number of games, heat, etc. as probably pointing in the right direction. Maybe it's inhaling something coming up from the ground that's the problem. What I think it consisted of was asphalt, a pad and the carpet; any or all of them could be the culprit. The stuff nowadays (Field Turf and competitors) people point to the infill and they've changed a lot of that in the 25 years it's been around.
BU's Nickerson Field's Astro Turf had to be the worst. I don't see any evidence of it being replaced in the 30+ years they had it, felt like you were standing in the street. Finally got replaced a couple years after they dropped football (and once more since then).
 

brs3

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I'm as shocked as most of you. A teammate told me the news on the field tonight - in Pittsburgh. They remember him here for 1992. I'd seen the story a few days ago but the suddenness of it ending... could hardly think straight.

I'm just going through youtube and watching some highlights, trying to honor the memory of a guy who did as much as anyone could ever ask for us to entertain us every night and to always be ready when he was needed.

And this little treat, the only one of his career:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YfwCS6B2sI
This is so great. I wonder if Wakefield ever brought up his only dinger when Mark Portugal joined the team in 1999.
 

bosockboy

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I have to grant whoever answered my post with comments about the number of games, heat, etc. as probably pointing in the right direction. Maybe it's inhaling something coming up from the ground that's the problem. What I think it consisted of was asphalt, a pad and the carpet; any or all of them could be the culprit. The stuff nowadays (Field Turf and competitors) people point to the infill and they've changed a lot of that in the 25 years it's been around.
BU's Nickerson Field's Astro Turf had to be the worst. I don't see any evidence of it being replaced in the 30+ years they had it, felt like you were standing in the street. Finally got replaced a couple years after they dropped football (and once more since then).
Carter, Daulton and Johnny Oates in particular squatted on it day in and day out.
 

Harry Hooper

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Presumably thanks to Werner's skeleton staffing at NESN, the only NESN clip from yesterday I can find online is Varitek's one posted in the game thread. I see articles at NESN.com referencing comments from Rice & Youkilis, but no video clips. If anyone can post links to any other (e.g., studio post-game), that would be great.
 
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RedOctober3829

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I would hope that John Henry would go ahead and retire Tim's number 49. Nobody has worn it since he retired. He has meant so much to the team and the community that he should waive the HOF requirement. They also should have a community service based award named in his honor as well.
 

simplicio

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I would hope that John Henry would go ahead and retire Tim's number 49. Nobody has worn it since he retired. He has meant so much to the team and the community that he should waive the HOF requirement. They also should have a community service based award named in his honor as well.
I'd say they should, except 49 is a special number for knuckleballers and I'd guess Wake himself might want it available if another one comes along. He absolutely deserves the honor though.
 

The Gray Eagle

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I'd say they should, except 49 is a special number for knuckleballers and I'd guess Wake himself might want it available if another one comes along. He absolutely deserves the honor though.
That's a really good point about 49 being a special number for knuckleballers. Maybe there's a different, special way to memorialize him?

Just throwing this out there: display a pair of his pitching cleats in a clear case mounted in the bullpen with a sign that can be seen from the stands: "#49 Tim Wakefield: Always Ready."
 

candylandriots

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I just read about Tim this morning and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Thanks for everyone sharing all the amazing memories. I still remember my mom updating me with his heroics when I first lived in Germany back in 1995 and thinking, “who the hell is this guy dominating the league?” I was there for 2003 and 2004 and 2007 and I’ll never forget him. Rest easy TW.

Edit: I should add that while my monthly salary then was 1500DM, and my apartment cost me half of that, I found out that my apartment had a cable tv connection that I was paying for while I was living there. I didn’t have a TV, but I went out and spent like 300DM for a crappy tv to hook up to the cable on the hope of watching the playoffs on some armed forces station. Well, there was only one Sox game I could see on it, so I had to make do with the Mariners beating the Yankees. Which was ok. And listening to the Sox on Armed Forces radio (although had exactly nothing to do with the military, it was just my only source). I sold the TV in November for like 200DM and considered worth it for seeing one Sox Playoff game at like 5am and watching the Yankees lose over several nights.
 
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Hank Scorpio

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That's a really good point about 49 being a special number for knuckleballers. Maybe there's a different, special way to memorialize him?

Just throwing this out there: display a pair of his pitching cleats in a clear case mounted in the bullpen with a sign that can be seen from the stands: "#49 Tim Wakefield: Always Ready."
I was thinking... you know the circular retired numbers? What if they did #49, but with a hand gripping it like a knuckleball?
 

MacChimpman

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Sep 2, 2008
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The 2012 documentary Knuckleball! Is really worth a look and will warm your heart. It chronicles the ups and downs of Tim’s entire career. It shows the fellowship of knuckleballers, a small and elite club, and shows the critical mentoring that Tim got from the Neikro bothers.

After Tim was released by Pittsburgh, the Red Sox called Phil Niekro and asked if they should try to sign him. Neikro was astonished he had been released, as he was so young. He told the Sox “Grab him right now, don’t even think twice about it” They signed him to a minor league deal and told him to go down to Fort Meyers and work with the Niekro brothers and see what happens.

Phil and Joe resurrected his career.

Tim: “It was just the three of us, me and Joe and Phil, picking each other’s brains…It calmed me. I was at ease. I was at peace. They taught me how to get the feel of a game.I can remember Phil standing behind me saying ‘throw this one as hard as you can, or take a little bit off here. Now’s a perfect opportunity to throw your fastball if you need to. It really got my confidence back. Even today, I can be on the mound and sense him being be slowing the game down in my mind.”

Tim went on to pitch another 17 years after that.


View: https://youtu.be/1T3Jk9j9MPY?si=sXxpU1W4wq-yH08x&t=168
 

CentralMassDad

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May 9, 2018
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This has bummed me out as it has so many others. It made me think of some of the worst baseball writing I have ever read-- was it Murray Chass (New York Times), who complained that the slow speed of the knuckleball made the game take longer? (Notwithstanding the fact that the games he pitched were actually faster, because he worked fast?)
 

BosoxFaninCincy

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I have been away from civilization all weekend, and came back to find this. Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts of this incredible human being who happened to play baseball and make his mark on a broken world through it, and through his love for you and your love in return. I am thinking about the Win it For iconic thread from 2004, and the tears that it brought without shame or trepidation in 2004. Those tears flow today as well, both in mourning for loss and, in time, in the joy from ever having him in our lives in the first place. RIP #49
 

BoSoxLady

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One detail I remember is that Wake apparently had exquisite handwriting, and so was routinely called upon to write the information on the baseball (date, inning, opposing pitcher, etc.) whenever a Red Sox player got their first ML hit. Maybe first strikeouts for pitchers, too. It’s beautiful to think of a whole generation of retired players having baseballs in their trophy cases with his lettering on them.
Correct. He knew calligraphy and inscribed baseballs and other items for teammates.
 

BoSoxLady

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I’m devastated. He was in Cora’s office the day before his surgery and assured Cora that he was going to be fine. Pedro wrote that he saw Wake last week and was about to return to Boston to help him through the next phase. I don’t understand why he was taken from his family, friends and fans.

He did a favor for me. My then 12 y/o nephew was a huge fan of Wake. He played baseball and learned to throw a knuckleball. I took him to a game in 2004 and it was the wive’s food pantry drive outside the park. The first table I saw included Wake’s wife. I made a donation and my nephew asked for a Wake card. As Stacy presented one, my nephew exclaimed “I love your husband.” So cute. She smiled broadly.

My nephew’s birthday was coming up and I hatched a plan. I was back at Fenway the next day and went to visit one of the wives of someone on the team. We’re still friends today. I purchased a framed photo of Wake throwing a knuckleball and asked if she could get the photo autographed by Wake. She said she’d try, asked my nephew’s name and said she’d try to have it by the next homestand.

2 weeks later she came to my seats and asked me to come with her. We went to the family room and there was Stacy Wakefield. She had the photo in her hand. It was beautifully autographed; To Peter, Warm regards Tim Wakefield #49. My nephew started to cry when I gave him the gift one month later.

He was so sad when I called him last week about Wake’s health issue. I called him yesterday to deliver the tragic news as he was on his way home from tee ball with his 5 year old son. He was getting choked up and had to hang up.

Sorry for the long post but I had to tell you how wonderful Tim and Stacy Wakefield are.
 

BoSoxLady

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Do you think there's any chance the posts in this thread (sans the Schilling stuff) could be sent to the Wakefield family? There are some truly heartwarming stories throughout this thread about Timmy.
I have a Red Sox contact.I will ask.
 

RedOctober3829

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I’m devastated. He was in Cora’s office the day before his surgery and assured Cora that he was going to be fine. Pedro wrote that he saw Wake last week and was about to return to Boston to help him through the next phase. I don’t understand why he was taken from his family, friends and fans.

He did a favor for me. My then 12 y/o nephew was a huge fan of Wake. He played baseball and learned to throw a knuckleball. I took him to a game in 2004 and it was the wive’s food pantry drive outside the park. The first table I saw included Wake’s wife. I made a donation and my nephew asked for a Wake card. As Stacy presented one, my nephew exclaimed “I love your husband.” So cute. She smiled broadly.

My nephew’s birthday was coming up and I hatched a plan. I was back at Fenway the next day and went to visit one of the wives of someone on the team. We’re still friends today. I purchased a framed photo of Wake throwing a knuckleball and asked if she could get the photo autographed by Wake. She said she’d try, asked my nephew’s name and said she’d try to have it by the next homestand.

2 weeks later she came to my seats and asked me to come with her. We went to the family room and there was Stacy Wakefield. She had the photo in her hand. It was beautifully autographed; To Peter, Warm regards Tim Wakefield #49. My nephew started to cry when I gave him the gift one month later.

He was so sad when I called him last week about Wake’s health issue. I called him yesterday to deliver the tragic news as he was on his way home from tee ball with his 5 year old son. He was getting choked up and had to hang up.

Sorry for the long post but I had to tell you how wonderful Tim and Stacy Wakefield are.
What a beautiful story. That's one example of many of just how good of a guy Tim was. Merloni was saying that many of the things Tim did for people nobody knows about. I just consider us as Sox fans lucky that a person like Tim played here. Tim was a really good player, but his legacy off the field will live in these parts forever.
 

jose melendez

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I’m devastated. He was in Cora’s office the day before his surgery and assured Cora that he was going to be fine. Pedro wrote that he saw Wake last week and was about to return to Boston to help him through the next phase. I don’t understand why he was taken from his family, friends and fans.

He did a favor for me. My then 12 y/o nephew was a huge fan of Wake. He played baseball and learned to throw a knuckleball. I took him to a game in 2004 and it was the wive’s food pantry drive outside the park. The first table I saw included Wake’s wife. I made a donation and my nephew asked for a Wake card. As Stacy presented one, my nephew exclaimed “I love your husband.” So cute. She smiled broadly.

My nephew’s birthday was coming up and I hatched a plan. I was back at Fenway the next day and went to visit one of the wives of someone on the team. We’re still friends today. I purchased a framed photo of Wake throwing a knuckleball and asked if she could get the photo autographed by Wake. She said she’d try, asked my nephew’s name and said she’d try to have it by the next homestand.

2 weeks later she came to my seats and asked me to come with her. We went to the family room and there was Stacy Wakefield. She had the photo in her hand. It was beautifully autographed; To Peter, Warm regards Tim Wakefield #49. My nephew started to cry when I gave him the gift one month later.

He was so sad when I called him last week about Wake’s health issue. I called him yesterday to deliver the tragic news as he was on his way home from tee ball with his 5 year old son. He was getting choked up and had to hang up.

Sorry for the long post but I had to tell you how wonderful Tim and Stacy Wakefield are.
Did he die during surgery? I've seen conflicting things. I don't really know why I'm interested... fear of mortality, I guess. I'm honestly not sure a sports death has hit me like this since Reggie Lewis.
 

BoSoxLady

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Presumably thanks to Werner's skeleton staffing at NESN, the only NESN clip from yesterday I can find online is Varitek's one posted in the game thread. I see articles at NESN.com referencing comments from Rice & Youkilis, but no video clips. If anyone can post links to any other (e.g., studio post-game), that would be great.
There’s a few on Twitter.
 

BoSoxLady

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Did he die during surgery? I've seen conflicting things. I don't really know why I'm interested... fear of mortality, I guess. I'm honestly not sure a sports death has hit me like this since Reggie Lewis.
No. He had surgery two weeks ago to remove the tumor and Pedro saw him last week. Something happened that caused Doug Mirabelli to call Curt Schilling three days before he passed. I’m obsessed with trying to get answers. I found this article that details strokes after brain surgery. A massive stroke or aneurysm is my very uneducated guess.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9474382/#:~:text=Kamiya-Matsuoka reviewed 60 cases,than 2 weeks after surgery.
 

edoug

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Jul 15, 2005
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Did he die during surgery? I've seen conflicting things. I don't really know why I'm interested... fear of mortality, I guess. I'm honestly not sure a sports death has hit me like this since Reggie Lewis.
He didn't die during surgery.
https://sports.yahoo.com/tim-wakefields-death-prompts-outpouring-202532562.html
"Red Sox radio voice Lou Merloni, another ex-teammate of Wakefield's, shared a statement of his own during the WEEI broadcast:

"It's surprising, shocking. He was doing well after surgery, and to get that news today was hard. He was obviously a friend, teammate, the ultimate teammate. ...

"He was (an unselfish player). Whether it was a starting role, a closing role, whatever it may be. Whatever role you needed him on. You mentioned the things he did off the field when his career was over. The Jimmy Fund, it was constant throughout his playing days and after his playing days, the Red Sox Foundation.

"He was just a good human being. I've run into so many people who have told me stories behind the scenes that he had done for them, for their families that nobody knows about. It's not in the papers. He would do anything for you."


View: https://twitter.com/SoxBooth/status/1708567348272103661
 

Garfinvold

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Dec 8, 2022
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I remember seeing the Pirates cut Wake and thinking Duquette should get this guy. Never imagined he'd still be on the team 16 years later. This game is my favorite Wakefield memory.https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS200509060.shtml Pitched 9 innings 111 pitches and I'm pretty sure he was going back out for the 10th, but Ortiz won it on a home run that I think is still orbing the moon, at least it looked that way from my seat near the Gulf sign.