Friday, February 17, 2012

Tim Wakefield hangs up his spikes

Not surprising, but a little disappointing.  Of all the Red Sox pitchers I've seen - and it's a long list - Tim Wakefield is at the top.  I've seen him more than anyone.  (Bob Stanley is #2 on that list.)

A knuckleballer is only supposed to win half of his games.  Sometimes the knuckler dances well, sometimes it doesn't.  Tim easily exceeded the expectation.  He was a starter, a spot starter, a middle reliever, a bullpen guy and a closer.  19 seasons in the majors, 17 with the Red Sox, starting in 1995.   He pitched over 3200 innings.  Struck out twice as many as he walked.

In the 2004 playoffs against the Yankees he came on in relief in the crucial Game 5.  It went 14 innings and lasted until 2AM, and Tim had to face Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, A-Rod, Hidecki Matsui, Jorge Paada, et al. for three innings.  He gave up only one hit and was the winning pitcher.  He is the only knuckleballer ever to start a World Series game.

How many times did Tim Wakefield go out there and pitch well, but get no support?  Losing 1-0, or leaving with a lead that was subsequently blown by the bullpen?

He wound up with 200 wins, 186 of them with the Red Sox.  Only eight short of breaking the all-time Red Sox record of 194, shared by Roger Clemens and Cy Young.   He struck out well over 2000 for the Red Sox, not that far from the Clemens mark of 2590, and double what Cy Young did.  An amazing record for a knuckleballer.

Cy Young was too along ago to really know, and we know all too much about Roger.  Tim Wakefield, however, was well known as a good guy.  Always said the right thing in an interview.  Did a ton of community work.  Gave us many quality innings.  We'll miss him.

Thanks, Tim,  for 17 great seasons.

No comments:

Post a Comment