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

jose melendez

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My recollection is that he not only flamed out with the Pirates, but had the worst era in the international league when they send him down to Buffalo.
 

GreenMonster49

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Jul 18, 2005
657
My recollection is that he not only flamed out with the Pirates, but had the worst era in the international league when they send him down to Buffalo.
In 1994, he led the American Association (8 teams) in games started (29), but also losses (15), hits (197), runs (127), and walks (98) (stats from The Baseball Cube). One of the few good things from that season for him was working with Joe Gannon, the bullpen catcher for the Buffalo Bisons. Wakefield taught Gannon the knuckleball, and Gannon eventually pitched in 12 seasons of independent ball (and two cups of coffee with affiliated clubs, AA and AAA Orioles clubs in 2004 and the A+ White Sox club in 2007). Among his managers in the Atlantic League was Butch Hobson, and Gannon threw a no-hitter for the Newark Bears in 2004. The defensive star of the game, with two excellent catches, was the Bears left fielder, a certain Rickey Henderson.
 

jose melendez

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Lifetime Member
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Oct 23, 2003
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In 1994, he led the American Association (8 teams) in games started (29), but also losses (15), hits (197), runs (127), and walks (98) (stats from The Baseball Cube). One of the few good things from that season for him was working with Joe Gannon, the bullpen catcher for the Buffalo Bisons. Wakefield taught Gannon the knuckleball, and Gannon eventually pitched in 12 seasons of independent ball (and two cups of coffee with affiliated clubs, AA and AAA Orioles clubs in 2004 and the A+ White Sox club in 2007). Among his managers in the Atlantic League was Butch Hobson, and Gannon threw a no-hitter for the Newark Bears in 2004. The defensive star of the game, with two excellent catches, was the Bears left fielder, a certain Rickey Henderson.
Awesome stuff. Thank you.
 

Deweys New Stance

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Here to Eternity
Like many, I'm still in shock from the initial news leak last week, and the horrible announcement yesterday. Really hit very hard for someone that familiar, two years younger than me, to suddenly be gone.

A lot of wonderful tributes and memories in this thread to a fantastic person who gave so much to the community and who just happened to exemplify the best of the Old Towne Team. Good to see that the mentoring and friendship that he got from the Niekro brothers was mentioned; the brotherhood of the knuckleball is one of those wonderful things in baseball that hopefully lives on.

Wake first came on my radar during that run with the '92 Pirates; I remember grabbing him for my NL-only rotisserie team that season and enjoying his first great run. Was very glad to see him make it back with the Sox in '95 after a rough 2-year go of it. Living in southwestern CT in the mid-90's, I didn't have regular access to Sox tv broadcasts and had to follow his magical June-August run through the radio, box scores, and Baseball Tonight highlights. Then, finally, ESPN carried his 8/18 Friday night start at the Kingdome. I settled in on my couch looking forward to watching him dominate....so of course he gave up the two bombs to Mike Blowers and got shelled for 7 runs in 3 innings. That was the knuckleball, often exhilarating, but sometimes exasperating. But with Wake you got much more of the former than the latter, and a ton of resiliency. When he was on, it was a joy to watch.

The thing about the 2003 ALCS that has been completely forgotten because of the Boone HR is that Wake had a huge series up to that point: 6 innings, 2 hits and 2 runs in Game 1 (which I attended), 7 innings, 5 hits and 1 run in Game 4. If the Sox had won that series, the MVP would have probably gone to either Wake or Trot.

My other memory of him was when I was on a vacation in Martha's Vineyard with my wife (girlfriend at the time) in July 2005. It was the night of the All Star Game, and we were dressed up and headed out to a fancy restaurant in Edgartown. As we walked through the bustling downtown area, I saw someone who looked familiar pushing a baby stroller. I did a double take and realized it was Tim Wakefield, out with his family and some friends getting ice cream. He noticed the look of recognition on my face and smiled. I kinda wanted to say something along the lines of "thanks for '04, and good luck in the 2nd half Timmy!", but I decided not to because he was busy with his two young kids and I didn't want to draw what might be unwanted attention to him, and we were late as usual for our reservation. I regret not saying anything.

Godspeed Tim Wakefield.
 

edoug

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Jul 15, 2005
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In the near future, I'm going to have to reread this thread. There is so much incredible stuff. I know I've missed some great posts. I apologize if this was already mentioned, Steve Buckley wrote about Tim in The Athletic (not behind a paywall).
https://t.co/CJGXawnwY3
 

graffam198

dog lover
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Dec 10, 2007
1,894
Reno, NV
Wake was my father’s favorite player (him and Tek). In 2003, when I was in NY for school, we would call each other and watch his starts together. This would continue throughout 2004.

I bought him a Wake signed ball and PawSox bobble head. Our love ran deep.

My father passed away this year, quite suddenly.This is a real double gut punch. I hope their is an after and those two get to talk about the mystery, joy, frustration of that damn pitch
 

RG33

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Nov 28, 2005
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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.
He died from a seizure post-surgery, which is a somewhat common occurrence after brain surgery like this apparently.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2023/10/01/sports/tim-wakefield-dies/#:~:text=He remained with the team,brain cancer on Sept. 15.
 

BoSoxLady

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I heard back from the Red Sox regarding all of the beautiful tributes about Wake in this thread. She will take them to Stacy Wakefield at some point. Once Wake’s service (unknown right now) is over, I will compile a transcript for Stacy.

Thanks to all who so fondly remember Wake. ❤
 

hoothehoo

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Jul 15, 2005
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I was at his 200th win. He had been trying for start after start and the game was close while he was in there. But you could feel the crowd willing him along. He came out with the lead and then the Sox offense exploded and by the ninth inning the atmosphere in the park was so happy and joyous.

I’m so glad to have that memory.
 

Jim Ed Rice in HOF

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Jul 21, 2005
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Here's an article by McAdam with some great thoughts from Derek Lowe. Regarding being told he'd be coming out of the pen during the playoffs because of his lousy September:

Lowe was irate and gave serious thought to going home before the playoffs began. But a conversation with Wakefield changed his mind.

“He was a great listener,” recalled Lowe from his home in Fort Myers. “But he wasn’t afraid to tell you the truth, either. He’d listen you you and say, ‘I hear ya, but I don’t necessarily agree with you.’ You need those type of friends in your life. You don’t need yes guys. He wasn’t afraid to listen, but also to tell you the truth. You might not have wanted to hear it at the time, but as time passed, it was something you truly respected. Not a lot of guys will do that. They’ll listen kind of half-assed and not really listen, but just say, ‘Yeah, I agree with you,’ and then move on. He wasn’t that type of guy.

“Wakey was truthful with me. He said, ‘Would you pitch you right now?’ And you had to think about it. He said, ‘If you look at our rotation right now (which featured Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Bronson Arroyo and Wakefield), would you pitch you?’ And I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Well, there’s your answer. But if you go home right now, you realize you’ll never pitch for this organization ever again. And how can you help us if you go home?’ Again, that was the truth.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Jan 13, 2021
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Love those quotes from Lowe. The relationship the players on the 04 team had with each other, and with us, is just so incredibly special and unique. This truly feels like losing a member of the family.
 

MacChimpman

New Member
Sep 2, 2008
12
I heard back from the Red Sox regarding all of the beautiful tributes about Wake in this thread. She will take them to Stacy Wakefield at some point. Once Wake’s service (unknown right now) is over, I will compile a transcript for Stacy.

Thanks to all who so fondly remember Wake. ❤
Thanks BoSoxLady for reaching out to them. I can only imagine what Stacy and those poor kids must be going through now. Have you heard from the Red Sox about some sort of memorial in the works?
 

Strike4

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Jul 19, 2005
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He was our everyman - not the best by any measure, but I think that's why we all love him and why he was such a rarity. You marvel at the Pedros and Mannys, but you relate to the Wakefields because they are really like us, and they reflect what appeals to us as humans more than fans. In a world where the attention span and lastingness of everything is like ten seconds, I think having a guy around on your team for 17 years is really profoundly meaningful and something that goes into who you are.
 

ElcaballitoMVP

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Nov 19, 2008
3,970
Man, this one hit me hard.

(Hopefully) Quick Story: When I was younger, my little brother, my Dad and I went to a Sox game. We used to hang out at the players parking lot before games and try to get autographs. We're standing next to a couple of teens near my age when Pedro comes in. Gets out of his car and walks past everyone without signing or acknowledging us. One of the kids next to me says, "You never sign Pedro!" and this set him off. "I signed for two fucking hours yesterday. You guys don't appreciate me!" and a few other things I can't recall now. He walks up to the fence a few feet from where we were and thinks I'm the one who said he never signs, points at me and says, "You! You'll never get my fucking autograph." All I can say is, "Pedro, we love you" and my Dad says, "Pedro, what about all these kids out here who are seeing this?", "I'm sorry they have to hear this, but you guys don't appreciate me and what I do for this city" and walks off to the clubhouse.

We walked off pretty stunned at what just happened when a clubhouse attendant runs over and says, "Hey were you the ones Pedro was talking to? Can you wait here a minute, Pedro wants to make it up to you." We wait a few minutes wondering what was going to happen and he returns with an autographed ball. Pretty nice of him right? Well, Pedro didn't sign anythin. We looked at the ball and who's name was on it? Yup, none other than Tim Wakefield. He heard Pedro yelling at us and had the attendant run and get us so he could try to make the situation better. He didn't have to do it, but that's just one small example of the kind of guy he was. I'm going to miss him.
 

GB5

New Member
Aug 26, 2013
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Just the really local angle: I live in Hingham, where the Wakefield family resides. He was really well liked here. Outgoing beyond all reason. I think he was always worried about stiffing even one person. He went so far out of his way to be pleasant and helpful. Lived at and was a member at BlackRock Country Club in Hingham which is the type of fancy exclusive golf community you would expect in Hingham. Belichick lives here, Brian Boyle(NHL) and the capper for me is that Tek lives here as well. Wake and Tek have lived a 6 iron from each other for the last 15 years. For whatever reason that gives me some comfort.

Speaking of golf, he was a scratch or about a 1 or 2. Apparently a wonderful guy to play with.

He was often sitting at the bar post-round and would spend time with whomever said hello to him.

Never big timed anyone. Ultimate class guy.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Tim Wakefield was never my favorite Red Sox player. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him a lot but with super heroes like Clemens, Pedro, Manny, Ortiz, Nomar, Pedroia and the rest around Wake kinda got lost in the shuffle. You took him for granted in a lot of ways.

The funny thing is, for the first four months as a Red Sock he was a super hero. He started off his Sox career 16-1 saving the rotation, saving the team, saving the season time after time after time. I’d seen Roger in 1986 but Wake was different. He could pitch at any minute! It was incredible.

I was at the game in 1995 where he had a no hitter going into the eighth against Oakland and it was like watching David Copperfield perform magic for three hours. The A’s couldn’t touch him.

And then Wakefield became “regular” and settled into a career of consistent 11-12 victories per year. He’d have some good streaks, some bad ones but he’d always come out ahead.

But Wakefield was the most courageous pitcher that ever toed the rubber. Armed with a fastball that reached the mid 70s (on a good day) and a “gimmick” pitch that was even slower, he took this arsenal up against the biggest, most roided out ball players in history.

And he won! He won 200 times in his career! That’s amazing. He seemingly threw as fast as many SoSHers but his guile and guts put him over the top and kept him in the league for almost 20 years.

Once you think about Wakefield and how he played ball, the guy was more than a super hero. It really sucks that he’s gone, I’ve thought about him a lot during these last two days, and I’m just gutted. Hearing about his charity work and how nice of a person he was makes me more sad to realize the guy we lost.

Life isn’t fair sometimes even for super heroes.
 

Bergs

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Jul 22, 2005
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Tim Wakefield was never my favorite Red Sox player. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him a lot but with super heroes like Clemens, Pedro, Manny, Ortiz, Nomar, Pedroia and the rest around Wake kinda got lost in the shuffle. You took him for granted in a lot of ways.

The funny thing is, for the first four months as a Red Sock he was a super hero. He started off his Sox career 16-1 saving the rotation, saving the team, saving the season time after time after time. I’d seen Roger in 1986 but Wake was different. He could pitch at any minute! It was incredible.

I was at the game in 1995 where he had a no hitter going into the eighth against Oakland and it was like watching David Copperfield perform magic for three hours. The A’s couldn’t touch him.

And then Wakefield became “regular” and settled into a career of consistent 11-12 victories per year. He’d have some good streaks, some bad ones but he’d always come out ahead.

But Wakefield was the most courageous pitcher that ever toed the rubber. Armed with a fastball that reached the mid 70s (on a good day) and a “gimmick” pitch that was even slower, he took this arsenal up against the biggest, most roided out ball players in history.

And he won! He won 200 times in his career! That’s amazing. He seemingly threw as fast as many SoSHers but his guile and guts put him over the top and kept him in the league for almost 20 years.

Once you think about Wakefield and how he played ball, the guy was more than a super hero. It really sucks that he’s gone, I’ve thought about him a lot during these last two days, and I’m just gutted. Hearing about his charity work and how nice of a person he was makes me more sad to realize the guy we lost.

Life isn’t fair sometimes even for super heroes.
I enjoyed and relate a great deal to this post.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Jan 2, 2006
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I have a 2004 WS ball signed by Wake, and it’s one of my favorite things ever. Not because he was my favorite player, but because when the Sox won the WS it was literally one of (maybe THE) the greatest days in my life. After the parade and the winter passed I had decided to try and get as many of the 04 team to sign WS baseballs as possible. Wake was the first that I got, and I had been lucky enough to have it signed in person. The end of 03 sucked so bad, and I always felt bad for Wake that he took that L since he was such a consummate team first player and all around great guy. I don’t think I ever finished all 25 guys, and a lot of the better players (Manny for example) I didn’t get signed in person, so having him be the first guy I got to sign and having it done in person always made it stand out a little more for me.
 

pokey_reese

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Jun 25, 2008
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That is fantastic.
Yeah, it really really does a good job of capturing a lot of what I remember and loved about Wake. It's funny how similar it is to what @Strike4 expressed, which is probably a feeling shared by many here, that made Wake feel less remote, less other-worldly than most professional athletes. He gave us all the greatest gift, the ability to imagine ourselves standing out there on that mound.
 

Sin Duda

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Jul 16, 2005
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Thanks, opes. I love the long video where Wake is interviewed because it makes him seem still with us. I pray for his wife's health and comfort for her, their kids, and Tim's parents too.
 

jose melendez

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After a lot of thinking, I wrote something new about Tim Wakefield

It’s time for today’s KEY TO THE GAME.

I haven’t been doing many of these lately. The Red Sox stink, the Patriots are horrible, and all I’m not able to watch much more than football, but damn it, Timmy deserves it.
It is tempting, extremely tempting, to look a the far too early death of knuckleballer Tim Wakefield as evidence that the universe is fundamentally unjust. I have been around far too long to fully believe any public figure who I do not know personally is as good as his reputation; I’ve been burned too many times. Hell, even people I know well personally don’t always live up to their reputations or my expectations of them. But I would be surprised if Tim Wakefield is, beyond the normal failings of a normal human being, one of those people who falls well short. There are just too many people with too many good things to say about him.

And now he’s gone as if stuck by a bolt from the blue. I am no theologian, but while this may not disprove the existence of a loving God, it sure isn’t an argument that there is one. What may, however, be evidence of a loving God—and Wake was a devout Christian so I know he believed in one—is the life of Tim Wakefield. At the very least, the life of Tim Wakefield is proof that there is magic in the world, light magic, not the magic of curses and revenge, but the magic of marshmallows and butterflies—the magic of the knuckleball.
All Sox fans know the story. Tim Wakefield is a man whose dream was dead. Drafted by the Pirates as a first baseman he couldn’t hit. In a normal story, that is the end, and he never makes the majors. To be grandiose, the Egyptians drive the Israelites into the Red Sea to drown; the tomb is not empty.

But from somewhere, or perhaps nowhere, Tim Wakefield was the recipient of a magical gift, the ability to make a baseball take just a quarter turn forward over a distance of sixty feet and six inches and then disappear. On the one hand it might not be as grand as parting the Red Sea or making the Statue of Liberty “disappear” but on the other hand it was, indisputably, real.

It happened.

Over and over again, I saw the world’s greatest hitters—and catchers ranging from poor Josh Bard to the great Jason Varitek—made to look ridiculous by Wake’s enchantments. One can rightly say that it’s all physics, that the movement can be explained by the baseball’s stitches disrupting the pocket of turbulence around the moving ball, and it can. But that doesn’t explain how the magic came and went. Just one year after debuting with the Pittsburgh Pirates and nearly wining NLCS MVP, Wakefield seeming lost his sorcery and became one of the worst pitchers in AAA. Physics simply isn’t that fickle. It doesn’t come and go.
But magic?

And then, when Red Sox general manage Dan Duquette took a flyer on him in 1995 the charms were back stronger than ever. During his 14-1 start that year, Wakefield looked as good as any starter ever had. Teams organised special press availabilities for him during starts that some compared to the ones Cal Ripken was having every game as he marched towards Lou Gehrig’s games played record.

And then it was gone again. I was in Jefferson, Maine listening to him pitch in the Seattle Kingdome—I listened to or watched every game Wake pitched that year. And he got shelled. And just like that, it was over. Tim Wakefield would be good again, sometimes very good, but he would never again be Cinderella. The magic hadn’t abandoned him completely, though. He’d keep pitching for the Sox for the rest of his career, sometimes dazzling as in the 2003 ALCS, and sometimes failing, also as in the 2003 ALCS, almost entirely it seemed, at the whim of the fates.

As much as Tim Wakefield’s death shows that there is darkness in the universe, that whether it is evil, bad luck, or cold indifference, that permeates the ether, his life and his career shows that there is also magic in the air and that the days of miracles are not past.

Rest easy Wake. Whatever the reason, be it physics or magic, luck or labor, you were special.
 

BosoxFaninCincy

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 9, 2023
89
After a lot of thinking, I wrote something new about Tim Wakefield

It’s time for today’s KEY TO THE GAME.

I haven’t been doing many of these lately. The Red Sox stink, the Patriots are horrible, and all I’m not able to watch much more than football, but damn it, Timmy deserves it.
It is tempting, extremely tempting, to look a the far too early death of knuckleballer Tim Wakefield as evidence that the universe is fundamentally unjust. I have been around far too long to fully believe any public figure who I do not know personally is as good as his reputation; I’ve been burned too many times. Hell, even people I know well personally don’t always live up to their reputations or my expectations of them. But I would be surprised if Tim Wakefield is, beyond the normal failings of a normal human being, one of those people who falls well short. There are just too many people with too many good things to say about him.

And now he’s gone as if stuck by a bolt from the blue. I am no theologian, but while this may not disprove the existence of a loving God, it sure isn’t an argument that there is one. What may, however, be evidence of a loving God—and Wake was a devout Christian so I know he believed in one—is the life of Tim Wakefield. At the very least, the life of Tim Wakefield is proof that there is magic in the world, light magic, not the magic of curses and revenge, but the magic of marshmallows and butterflies—the magic of the knuckleball.
All Sox fans know the story. Tim Wakefield is a man whose dream was dead. Drafted by the Pirates as a first baseman he couldn’t hit. In a normal story, that is the end, and he never makes the majors. To be grandiose, the Egyptians drive the Israelites into the Red Sea to drown; the tomb is not empty.

But from somewhere, or perhaps nowhere, Tim Wakefield was the recipient of a magical gift, the ability to make a baseball take just a quarter turn forward over a distance of sixty feet and six inches and then disappear. On the one hand it might not be as grand as parting the Red Sea or making the Statue of Liberty “disappear” but on the other hand it was, indisputably, real.

It happened.

Over and over again, I saw the world’s greatest hitters—and catchers ranging from poor Josh Bard to the great Jason Varitek—made to look ridiculous by Wake’s enchantments. One can rightly say that it’s all physics, that the movement can be explained by the baseball’s stitches disrupting the pocket of turbulence around the moving ball, and it can. But that doesn’t explain how the magic came and went. Just one year after debuting with the Pittsburgh Pirates and nearly wining NLCS MVP, Wakefield seeming lost his sorcery and became one of the worst pitchers in AAA. Physics simply isn’t that fickle. It doesn’t come and go.
But magic?

And then, when Red Sox general manage Dan Duquette took a flyer on him in 1995 the charms were back stronger than ever. During his 14-1 start that year, Wakefield looked as good as any starter ever had. Teams organised special press availabilities for him during starts that some compared to the ones Cal Ripken was having every game as he marched towards Lou Gehrig’s games played record.

And then it was gone again. I was in Jefferson, Maine listening to him pitch in the Seattle Kingdome—I listened to or watched every game Wake pitched that year. And he got shelled. And just like that, it was over. Tim Wakefield would be good again, sometimes very good, but he would never again be Cinderella. The magic hadn’t abandoned him completely, though. He’d keep pitching for the Sox for the rest of his career, sometimes dazzling as in the 2003 ALCS, and sometimes failing, also as in the 2003 ALCS, almost entirely it seemed, at the whim of the fates.

As much as Tim Wakefield’s death shows that there is darkness in the universe, that whether it is evil, bad luck, or cold indifference, that permeates the ether, his life and his career shows that there is also magic in the air and that the days of miracles are not past.

Rest easy Wake. Whatever the reason, be it physics or magic, luck or labor, you were special.
This...thank you! For me Wake was more than a comet screaming across the sky. He had that glimpse in Pittsburgh as if to say, watch for me. I will re-enter your world. And then the 14-1, like a superhero, but superhero stories are not the real stories of our lives. It is the Wake who settled into our world with 10-12 wins, some maddening outings, but, who persevered with character and resilience and a love for his team, his town, and its fans that is much more the stuff of the kind of legend that inspires and challenges me. And I know that the heart-wrenching sadness at his premature passing is real throughout New England. I feel it more than one thousand miles away. My coping mechanism is to marvel at whatever benevolent forces may be at play that brought him into our world for 17 years and beyond. Quite frankly, that kind of kindness, loyalty and compassion is more than we could ever hope for in our everyday heroes.
 

Skiponzo

Member
SoSH Member
After a lot of thinking, I wrote something new about Tim Wakefield

It’s time for today’s KEY TO THE GAME.

I haven’t been doing many of these lately. The Red Sox stink, the Patriots are horrible, and all I’m not able to watch much more than football, but damn it, Timmy deserves it.
It is tempting, extremely tempting, to look a the far too early death of knuckleballer Tim Wakefield as evidence that the universe is fundamentally unjust. I have been around far too long to fully believe any public figure who I do not know personally is as good as his reputation; I’ve been burned too many times. Hell, even people I know well personally don’t always live up to their reputations or my expectations of them. But I would be surprised if Tim Wakefield is, beyond the normal failings of a normal human being, one of those people who falls well short. There are just too many people with too many good things to say about him.

And now he’s gone as if stuck by a bolt from the blue. I am no theologian, but while this may not disprove the existence of a loving God, it sure isn’t an argument that there is one. What may, however, be evidence of a loving God—and Wake was a devout Christian so I know he believed in one—is the life of Tim Wakefield. At the very least, the life of Tim Wakefield is proof that there is magic in the world, light magic, not the magic of curses and revenge, but the magic of marshmallows and butterflies—the magic of the knuckleball.
All Sox fans know the story. Tim Wakefield is a man whose dream was dead. Drafted by the Pirates as a first baseman he couldn’t hit. In a normal story, that is the end, and he never makes the majors. To be grandiose, the Egyptians drive the Israelites into the Red Sea to drown; the tomb is not empty.

But from somewhere, or perhaps nowhere, Tim Wakefield was the recipient of a magical gift, the ability to make a baseball take just a quarter turn forward over a distance of sixty feet and six inches and then disappear. On the one hand it might not be as grand as parting the Red Sea or making the Statue of Liberty “disappear” but on the other hand it was, indisputably, real.

It happened.

Over and over again, I saw the world’s greatest hitters—and catchers ranging from poor Josh Bard to the great Jason Varitek—made to look ridiculous by Wake’s enchantments. One can rightly say that it’s all physics, that the movement can be explained by the baseball’s stitches disrupting the pocket of turbulence around the moving ball, and it can. But that doesn’t explain how the magic came and went. Just one year after debuting with the Pittsburgh Pirates and nearly wining NLCS MVP, Wakefield seeming lost his sorcery and became one of the worst pitchers in AAA. Physics simply isn’t that fickle. It doesn’t come and go.
But magic?

And then, when Red Sox general manage Dan Duquette took a flyer on him in 1995 the charms were back stronger than ever. During his 14-1 start that year, Wakefield looked as good as any starter ever had. Teams organised special press availabilities for him during starts that some compared to the ones Cal Ripken was having every game as he marched towards Lou Gehrig’s games played record.

And then it was gone again. I was in Jefferson, Maine listening to him pitch in the Seattle Kingdome—I listened to or watched every game Wake pitched that year. And he got shelled. And just like that, it was over. Tim Wakefield would be good again, sometimes very good, but he would never again be Cinderella. The magic hadn’t abandoned him completely, though. He’d keep pitching for the Sox for the rest of his career, sometimes dazzling as in the 2003 ALCS, and sometimes failing, also as in the 2003 ALCS, almost entirely it seemed, at the whim of the fates.

As much as Tim Wakefield’s death shows that there is darkness in the universe, that whether it is evil, bad luck, or cold indifference, that permeates the ether, his life and his career shows that there is also magic in the air and that the days of miracles are not past.

Rest easy Wake. Whatever the reason, be it physics or magic, luck or labor, you were special.
I have nothing of substance to add to this other than to say....this is FANTASTIC. Thank you!
 

GreenMonster49

Well-Known Member
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Jul 18, 2005
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A couple of things to add to this thread, both from 2009.

1) One of Tim Wakefield's best starts was against the A's on April 15th--he took a no-hitter into the 8th inning and wound up getting with 8-2 complete game win. But the circumstances were a bit out of the ordinary. After eight games, the Sox had already lost six games and were in last place in the AL East, 4 games back of the Orioles. The April 14th game was the toughest--Daisuke Matsuzaka lasted only one inning and the bullpen put together 10-2/3 innings of shutout ball before Javier Lopez gave up the winning run after three walks and a chopper to second base that Travis Buck beat out for the shortest of walk-off hits. And the April 15th game was a 12:35 PM start.

Before the game, Wakefield told Francona that he knew what his role was--to give the bullpen a day off.
"I told him, I said, 'Listen, I understand the circumstances of the day, and I just want to know whatever happens — don't take me out. Let me keep going," said Wakefield. (Boston Globe, 4/16/2009, Page C7)
Massarotti's column in the Globe on the 16th ended with the lament "We just don't know... whether they can ever win two in a row." Of course, the win started an 11-game winning streak that got the Sox tied at the top of the AL East.

2) It's not surprising when baseball players vote Republican, but I remember from the 2009 All-Star Game coverage that there is a way to state your political beliefs that is a lot saner and a lot more adult than a certain ex-Red Sox pitcher would choose. From Steve Buckley's column in the Herald from July 15, 2009:

More than getting a quick handshake as President Obama visited the American League clubhouse before the game, the two men had a brief conversation, with Obama asking Wakefield, “How do you throw that thing?”
According to Wakefield, the chat began with the president saying, “Oh, yeah, you’re the elder statesman here.”

Wakefield didn’t have a baseball handy to brief the president on how to throw the knuckleball. “He said, ‘You’re going to have to teach me how to throw that thing one of these days,’ ” Wakefield said. “And then he was on his way.”

It should be pointed out that Tim Wakefield did not vote for Obama, and that, in and of itself, is no big deal. After all, nearly 60 million Americans voted for Republican nominee John McCain. But it’s what Wakefield said about not voting for Obama that was so refreshingly candid.

“I didn’t vote for him, but I respect him,” said Wakefield. “He’s our president, and I hope he does really, really well, because we all need our president to lead us in the right direction, and I think he’s capable of doing that.”
 

axx

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https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/38566638/lsu-greg-brooks-brain-cancer-faces-months-rehab

Only tangently related, but (former) LSU Safety Greg Brooks also has brain cancer. He had surgery in September. Doctors no longer detect cancer but he has serious speech and communication issues. That's what makes brain cancer tough to deal with... you can't exactly chemo the brain (I'd have to think) and Death almost has to be a common outcome of surgery. If they manage to rehab the issues, Brooks is pretty lucky.
 

Pitt the Elder

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Sep 7, 2013
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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.
I'm playing catch-up on this thread and chasing posts at this point but that look of determination on Wakes faces coupled with the *delicacy* with which he is holding the ball tells the entire story.

He toiled to deliver art
 

BoSoxLady

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FYI…
Cards of condolence can be sent to:
Wakefield family
Boston Red Sox
4 Jersey Street
Boston, MA 02215
 

jose melendez

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Awesome piece, though as one commentor notes, the Clemson part has to be wrong, as they didn't play Duke that week, they played Wake

Edit: NC State played Clemson in Raleigh that night, that must have been it.
 

worm0082

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Sep 19, 2002
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It’s been a while but just wanted to add my thoughts. As a young 13 year old I remember this guy that came out of nowhere and how he great he was in 1995. He was there. When I graduated high school. He was there. I remember in 2003 being ready for knock down brawl of a game in extras, and in one pitch season over. My son was born the day after 04 World Series win. He was there. Went through life, got divorced in ‘10 he was there. 13 to 30. He was my Yaz. Wish he could have hung on a little longer to be with the ‘13 club.

He was, to me, always as “exciting” as Pedro. He could either no hit someone on any given day , or be out in 3 innings. Watching him approach and break so many team records, all star, 200 wins.

Not even mentioning all the off the field stuff. And the NESN etc… I really hope 49 is retired this season.
thank you Tim, never forget you ♥