On the last day of the Red Sox season, just minutes before game time, came word of Red Sox Hall of Famer Tim Wakefield‘s death. If you’re a Red Sox fan there is little chance you didn’t know of Tim or his accomplishments. And hopefully, as tributes flowed in following the news, you also know what a man he was off the field.
“It’s one thing to be an outstanding athlete, it’s another to be an extraordinary human being. Tim was both,” said Red Sox chairman Tom Werner. “He was a role model on and off the field, giving endlessly to the Red Sox Foundation and being a force for good for everyone he encountered.
In the ways that matter most, Wakefield’s life was one well spent.
On one of his many visits to @TheJimmyFund clinic, Tim Wakefield was told there was a boy who was a big Red Sox fan and would be so disappointed to miss him. The kid was in the infusion room, Wake was told. It was chemo day. Three hours later the boy returned to his home, sick…— Gerry Callahan (@GerryCallahan) October 1, 2023
Wakefield was honored with Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award in 2010, given annually to a player who demonstrates the values Clemente displayed in his commitment to community and understanding the value of helping others. Since the award’s inception in 1971, the only other Boston player to earn it was David Ortiz in 2011.
In the record books
As a ball player, Wakefield’s name features prominently in the Red Sox record books. Over his 17 seasons in Boston (1995-2011), Wakefield was a dominating competitor.
Here’s a look at some of Tim Wakefield’s most impressive on-field accomplishments. Among all Red Sox for all-time, Wakefield had…
- The most innings pitched (3,006.0), games started (430), batters faced (12,971), and pitches thrown (46,223). The most innings pitched in the history of Fenway Park (1,553.0).
- The most appearances in a postseason series (10).
- 2nd-most strikeouts (2,046) and quality starts (222) after Roger Clemens (2,590 SO, 249 QS).
- 2nd-most overall games (590) after Bob Stanley (637).
- 3rd-most wins (186) after Clemens (192) and Hall of Famer Cy Young (192).
- Tied with Clemens for 3rd-most postseason games started (9) after Jon Lester (11), Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez (11).
- 4th-most seasons played with the team (17) after Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski (23), Dwight Evans (19), and Hall of Famer Ted Williams (19).
- Tied for 4th-long win streak in franchise history (10 games in 1995). The only longer Boston win streaks were by Ellis Kinder (13), Hall of Famer Cy Young (12), and Mickey Harris (11).
- Tied with Chris Sale for 4th-most postseason strikeouts (47) after Martinez (80), Lester (68) and Josh Beckett (52).
In addition, Wakefield was one of just three Red Sox ever to throw more than 1,000 innings at age 35 or older, a list that includes Hall of Famers Cy Young and Lefty Grove.
He was the only player in franchise history to appear in a game at the age of 44 or older, and one of just 36 Major Leaguers to do so ever. In fact, Wakefield’s 43 games at age 44 or older are tied with Bartolo Colon for 7th-most in American League history.
The 2009 All-Star and two-time World Series champion was one of now just six Boston pitchers ever to throw 5.0+ innings and allow 1 or 0 runs in each of his first three outings with the club.
The Red Sox inducted Tim Wakefield into the club Hall of Fame in 2016.